Saturday, January 27, 2007

Merlin's Altar

Sadly, it's looking increasingly likely that our much loved Merlin won't be with us for very much longer :-(((

This morning at 5am when he got up, Jon found Merlin downstairs shaking with each breath. He thought he was dying before his eyes :-( After a cuddle, Merlin recovered from that, but he's quite weak now and I've noticed him making a bubbly, rumbling kind of noise each time he starts to purr, about four or five strange noises before the purr sets in. Although the vet said there was nothing wrong with his heart or lungs, you have to wonder.

So: this morning we had to spell it out to Emily that we don't think Merlin has all that long left to live. It's one of those things that (to an adult) is probably fairly obvious, but we weren't sure that Emily realised it - and she hadn't. Much tears from all of us, and a distraught little girl :-( Made us feel awful, but we didn't want to pretend it wasn't happening and then have it be a shock when the time does come. Now she knows, she can take extra time with him and we can gently discuss every so often what we believe will happen to his spirit when Merlin dies. Once the tears had settled, Emily went off to her computer and gathered together loads of photos of Merlin, which she arranged on a beautiful card for him.

Yesterday we finally cleared off a table in the dining room which had been full of arty crafty stuff (now neatly put away) and we said we'd use it as our pagan/seasonal altar - this morning Emily decided it should be Merlin's altar. She found the cards she's made for him recently and some special ornaments that are associated with him, and she arranged these and the new card on the altar, so she can focus her energy to try to help heal him. He was very impressed ;-) and had a good sniff around it all.

Here's Emily giving Merlin a vitamin tablet this afternoon:
When she came back from ballet this afternoon, Emily set about making some clay figures to add to the altar and some more lovely arty crafty things to celebrate Merlin. I think she feels better with a focused place to put things, so I'm really glad she had that idea.

I don't know - maybe Merlin will surprise us all yet and fight back. It would be so wonderful if he does. But. He's not putting on any weight at all, his fur's not growing back, he doesn't want to go outside and now his breathing seems to be an issue. He doesn't seem to be in any pain (and if he was, we would consider euthanasia) but nor does he seem to be making any progress. This time last week he seemed so unhappy with his one-food-only diet that Jon and I had a lengthy chat about it and decided to go completely against the vet's advice/instructions. It's not in my nature to contradict experts - I guess I'm rather naive that way - but it was painfully clear that even following this horrible diet Merlin wasn't going to be living an extra five years or anything like that. He was clearly depressed and not showing any signs of improvement and he was also clearly upset that he wasn't allowed what the other three cats were eating. Just like I suppose a human would be thoroughly miserable if they'd only been allowed one food for the previous three weeks.

So we decided that since we feel Merlin doesn't have all that long left, we weren't prepared to make his last few weeks/months/whatever miserable with a diet that wasn't really going to make much difference. Jon did a lot of research into the raw food diet for cats and pretty much that's what we're doing now. Merlin's eating (and seeming to really enjoy) raw chicken, raw liver, raw oily fish etc as well as the vet's food and as a result he does seem much happier in himself. We're not giving him anything processed at all so whatever sparked off this bloody digestive disease can't be doing him any more harm since he's never had raw stuff before. He purrs away now and show s a real interest in what he's eating, which is a huge improvement. He's due back at the vets on Monday. I daresay he still won't have put on any weight, and I daresay we'll be "in trouble" for having chosen this route, but we're doing what we feel is right for Merlin.

Today after ballet we said goodbye to Kate and her Mum who are leaving for Poland on Monday, possibly for up to four months. We were very sorry to see them go and they were both in tears, so that was a bit traumatic too :-/ Emily had made Kate a beautiful card; she drew both of them holding hands in gorgeous dresses, with Kate holding the Polish flag and Emily holding the Union Jack. We'll miss them, but we'll be writing, emailing and phoning, so I'm sure the time will pass soon enough. They'll definitely be back by the time summer arrives, so the girls are looking forward to long days spent in paddling pools!

Yesterday evening at ballet I had a long chat with Kayleigh's mum too. We haven't seen that much of Kayleigh this month since her Dad's been bringing her to ballet and he whisks her off as soon as it's finished, but we've set up some dates for the girls to play now. Trish was telling me all about Ireland too - they regularly go on holiday to Ireland and have really whet our appetites, so we're hoping to hire a cottage there sometime this year. Together with two trips to St Bees, our London holiday to see the Tutankhamun Exhibition and other assorted sights in October, a possible trip to Poland and several 2-3 day trips planned to places like West Midlands Safari Park, it looks as if we'll be travelling more than usual this year, so that's all good :-)

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