Merlin was a very special little cat because he was blind. I have made this page accessible to those of you who might want to read his story.
This is Merlin at 12 weeks old. When he first came into us, he was put in an outside pen for a week in quarantine. After he had been blood-tested for Fiv and Felv, and had his 1st vaccination, he was brought indoors and put in a kitten pen, to get used to all the other cats around him. It wasn't until we opened the front of the pen to let him come out and explore, that we noticed there was something wrong. Merlin didn't attempt to come out of the pen, even though the front was wide open, until a week later. He then walked very slowly around the outside of the pen, staying close to the sides. As we watched him during the first week, we knew there was something wrong, but couldn't quite figure out what it was. He didn't play, `chase the string', or `chase the light' with the other kittens. He didn't dash about like kittens normally do. He walked carefully from one place to another. We gradually realised that he couldn't see.
When we took him back to the vets for his second vaccination, we asked if there were any tests that she could do, which she did. Her conclusion was that Merlin definitely can't see close-up, but we think that he may be able to distinguish shapes moving at a distance. He seems to know where a cat is, when it is walking by, but if it is sitting still, he bumps into it. He started to play with various soft toys, but if they go more than about 6" from him, he tries to find them by patting around the floor with his paw.
The pictures above show Merlin at 14 weeks. Three of them show him playing with a toy mouse, which he loves. The fourth picture shows him trying to get off the chair. He does this by walking his paws down the side until he reaches the ground, then his back feet follow. If he manages to climb up on to something that has no sides for him to walk down, he gets in a bit of a panic, and sometimes cries for help.
Above is Merlin, again at 14 weeks, one looking cute, and one having a doze.
Above is Merlin at 15 weeks, showing how he gets down from the top of the cat tree. First feeling his way carefully down the side of the tube, then following with his back feet, but in this case landing upside-down in a heap.
Merlin at 4 months
Merlin with his playmate Dotty Merlin with his friend Leo
Merlin at 6 months
Merlin loves climbing up to high places, in the third picture, you can see how high he is. Unfortunately he finds it much harder to get down than it is to get up, and sometimes just sits and screams until he is rescued, although he is finding it easier as he gets bigger.
Here is Merlin playing with one of his favourite balls, he likes it because he can pick it up and carry it around. His favourite place to play with it is in the bathroom on the tiled floor, as he can hear it rolling. If anyone flushes the toilet, he loses it, because he can't hear it over the noise.
In the second picture, Merlin has found the food bowl, he is very good at smelling food, especially ours.
On Sunday 22nd August, Merlin was just scratching his ear, when he went into some kind of fit/seizure, which left him unable to stand without assistance, and his legs were very stiff. We took him to the vets the following morning and she was unsure what had happened, but thought it all centred around problems with his brain & nervous system. The vet gave us two choices, either to say goodbye to him then, or to try him on steroids & anti-biotics for a week. We brought him home with the tablets, to give him a chance.
Merlin had given up eating, and I had to syringe liquid food down him every 3 hours. In between that he had cat milk & water. He would use the tray when I held him on it, although occasionally he had accidents. Merlin responded slowly to the treatment, and by Friday had lost the stiffness in his back legs, and I was able to get him in a crouching position on the litter tray. He was also moving around the room somehow, but only when I wasn't there to see it happen. I spoke to the vet again, on the phone, and she said that as there was some improvement, she was happy to give him another 2 weeks steroids.
The next day, (Saturday 28th), Merlin also lost the stiffness in his front legs, and was managing to sit his front end up when I called him. He was also responding to me by meowing & purring. The biggest problem was that he still wouldn't eat or drink. In the next few days he was able to move into a curled up position or a stretched out position, and if I left him in a crouched position he was able to balance. We were very hopeful of some kind of recovery.
When I went into him first thing Thursday morning, (2nd Sept), he didn't respond to me at all, and seemed quite floppy. I continued his routine through the day, hoping that he would respond. He was still happy to swallow his food and drink, although would not use the litter tray, and was just wetting his bed. He was responding to his name by blinking his eyes. By the evening, his breathing was a bit heavy, and we decided we should take him back to the vets the next day.
We took it in turns to cuddle Merlin through the night, his breathing gradually got worse, and he wasn't responding at all. We took him to the vets early that morning ( Friday 3rd Sept), and she said there was nothing else she could do. Merlin was quietly put to sleep in our arms. We don't know why he suddenly gave up, all we can think is that he may have had another seizure during the Wednesday night, which knocked him backwards. We are all very upset by the loss of our Very Special Little Boy.
Those We Love Don't Go Away
They Walk Beside Us Every Day
Unseen, Unheard, But Always Near
Still Loved, Still Missed, And Very Dear.
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