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I can watch this “Maine Coon: Gentle Giant” video every day and smile every single time, because it reminds me of the coolest cat I ever knew (also because I love the Nick Drake song, River Man, which is sung by someone else here): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmnTzrh6xhQ


In January 2013 I wrote:

I’m a dog person, not a cat person. Dogs are devoted, eager to please, companionable and trainable. They come when you call. Cats? We all know the routine. So, I’m embarrassed at how much I came to love a cat. It’s like being in sixth grade again with classmates taunting “Ooh, you’re in love with MERLIN.”

I adopted Merlin from the pound in August 2011. Claire put me up to it. Poor Merlin, huge and anti-social, was squished into a little cage at the bottom of the stack, facing away from the other cats, and he’d been there for three months, looking ugly and mean in the eyes of everyone but me. One glance, and I was smitten. He cast a spell on me.

65112_10200155300075150_885668173_n[1]   62456_10200155297955097_1041313732_n[1]   Love that face!

Someone else had named him Merlin for the funny white beard that makes him look like the famed wizard, and I didn’t bother to change the name. I just paid the discounted adoption fee of $25 and sneaked him home, a “clearance” cat, if you will, in need of love and attention, which my husband said someone else should give him, NOT US, for we were absolutely not going to allow another cat in our home. Bobinksi, our first cat, firmly agreed, and did everything in his power to scare Merlin under the bed and into the top shelves of closets. Merlin is an amazing athlete, capable of leaping high with those long, Neanderthal-strong legs.

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Poor Merlin just wanted to be left alone. He was not the aggressor here. Everyone but me saw him as a Darth Vader. I saw a clown:

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For all his size and strength, he’s also a ballerina or a butterfly, not a bull in a china shop. He never tips over or breaks things, not even with a swish of his mighty tail. He’s a  hockey player too, a 15-pound Wayne Gretzky with fur, thundering across wood floors, batting a plastic lid around all by himself. He loves to play Attack the Stick poking out from under a door, or chase a string, or watch humans on the treadmill.

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“It’s him or me,” Tim said, and Miles wanted a cat, so we packed up Merlin, and he thrived in Miles’s apartment.

Miles never tried to hold him, and Merlin was pleased to be so neglected. No other cats or dogs showed up.  He’d terrorize occupants of the bathroom by sliding a giant, tarantula-looking paw under the door. HILARIOUS, Merlin! Whenever I came to visit, Merlin would hide under the bed…the whole time I was there {{ sob! }} but he didn’t hide when Miles’s friends came over. He charmed Aubrey, who asked for custody of Merlin when Miles’s lease was up. No cats allowed in Miles’s next apartment.

Aubrey adopted more cats, which stressed Merlin out. Vicious rumors and scratched legs indicate that Merlin became little…hostile. I brought him home and confined him to our cabin, which worked out for two weeks, but then Merlin would cry and scratch at the door when it was time for me to leave and follow me back to the house. It broke my heart. Merlin had gotten his fill of solitary confinement. I let him outside to walk in the autumn leaves and eat grass, and he’d walk straight to the house and cry at the patio door to get in. How could I refuse him?

Merlin looking into cabin  Merlin on path facing house

I brought him into the house one day while Tim was away and never sent him back to the cabin, but I did promise Tim I’d eventually find a permanent home for beautiful Merlin. Our neighbor dog Ted and our dear dying Bailey are gentle and nice, but Merlin hisses at them and goes into hiding. 

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He does give in and eat dry cat food (Meow Mix, Little Friskies), but he prowls for fish, cheese or sausage. He opens doors and drawers  in search of canned salmon. Someone spoiled him in his previous life. He silently (harmlessly) opens thecorrect  door, stares at the salmon, turns his head and looks up at me with Pity Kitty eyes–a sweet, silent pathos that screams YES to me.


Much as I adore Merlin, Tim, Mariel, and Bobi are united and firm in their resolution: Merlin must go.

Merlin would do best  in a one-cat-only, one-person-only home. A widow, a lonely bachelor, would find a constant companion in him. He hates to be held and won’t sit in laps but he’ll follow you and watch you for hours. He loves oat grass. He’s playful. He’s beautiful, lion-like and majestic. I have squandered countless hours just staring at this creature. Maine Coon, the only cat breed native to America. Genetically it’s impossible, but they look like a mix of half raccoon, half cat. They’re enormous creatures with long hair, bred to survive Maine winters and to hunt mice. Merlin makes eye contact and looks more like a person than a cat, sometimes. I hate to let him go again. If someone does try to “rescue” him from me, I’ll make sure it’s to a forever home this time. 

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Merlin in pantry for tuna 60396_10200737607992484_1594525948_n[1]

Black Harley-biker Leather paws. Lion’s mane. Tufted ears. Why has no one begged me for this cat?

June 1, 2013, Merlin moved to a Victorian house in Illinois with a Harley biker named Keith. Go, Merlin! I MISS YOU but I’m happy you get to live the good life.

Thanks to RescueMe.com, Keith Gleason, who owned two Maine Coons in the past, drove five hours round trip to claim Merlin. My big, beautiful, 16-pound baby hid under the sofa and cried piteously at first but he warmed up to Keith much more quickly than expected. Keith has emailed photos showing Merlin cozy on a bed, gazing out a window, playing Goldilocks with all the chairs, exploring his new home with confidence instead of cowering in the closet. Finally, the little jungle prince is king of the forest. No more daily persecution from Bobinksi, our first cat. Thank you, Keith and wife Terry, for opening your home to Merlin, and to Jeff Gold for founding and maintaining Rescue Me!

Update, April 2014: I still miss Merlin. Still watch that you-tube video and just smile, and wish I’d filmed Merlin that way.

About carolkean

novelist, reviewer, editor, book critic for Liberty Island and Perihelion Science Fiction; native prairie/guerilla gardener; champion of liberty, indie authors & underdogs; one of the top two reviewers in Editors &Preditors Poll 2015; Amazon Vine, NetGalley Top Reviewer
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15 Responses to Rescue me: My Beautiful Maine Coon, Merlin

  1. I’ll trade you a Pyrenees for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. carolkean says:

    I may yet drive him 13 hours to you if Scott sincerely wants Merlin. 🙂 I’m afraid Merlin wouldn’t like your dogs. He could scratch an eye out. Hmmm, we’d get Jillian in exchange for Merlin–? Might be an offer I can’t refuse!


    • I still would love to have Merlin. But I do think the Pyr needs to find a suitable home first. She needs space to run. She is not and never will be an indoor dog. Due to her injuries, we never thought she would be able to handle herself outdoors again. Boy were we ever wrong. Now the house is her prison, and our slightly-less-than-half-acre yard is far too small. We are seriously trying to rehome her, not for our convenience, but for her emotional health. If you know of any place there with acreage who would not mind a free-roaming dog who seriously prefers no interaction with humans, please let me know.

      Liked by 1 person

      • carolkean says:

        Rhonda, our home sounds perfect for her, but for one thing — she has a history of finding her way to the road. That’s how she came into your life, after all. (Oof! Ouch! Awwww, poor thing!) The first dog we ever met at the pound, 13 years ago, was a great white Pyr – and she was there because she kept wandering off, and her owner got sick of paying to bail her out of the pound, so he just surrendered her. Herding dogs are good at staying home, but Huskies, Pyrs and other breeds are born to roam. Jillian would love to herd mountain goats and sheep, eh? I’d love to swap animals. Well, I wouldn’t *love* to part with Merlin, but he’s picking up on those “You’re not welcome here!” vibes.

        Rebeca, Amanda, thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂


      • I would actually be more worried about your neighbor than the road. But yes, cars are definitely a problem for Jilly. LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh wow. Beautiful cat. My Owen is antisocial. He hides when people come over. They don’t believe we have a second cat. He’s even scared of me unless I’m lying down. But he tolerates the twins. They can pick him up and hug him. I can’t even pet him! But he does the opening cupboards thing. He can’t stand closed doors of any kind.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Maybe your prayers will be answered and it will take a long time for someone to respond to the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. carolkean says:

    If Jillian isn’t a fence jumper, or a chronic barker (at horses), she’d be okay with the neighbor. How old is she? Didn’t you recently get bad news from the vet about her prognosis?


    • Jilly probably can’t jump a fence because of her hips, but she’ll dig under it or chew through it. She barks nonstop especially when confined and would annoy your neighbor by taking up residence in her yard when she isn’t confined. She’s about six, spayed, current on all shots and heartworm preventative, and her prognosis is excellent. She is incontinent, though. We put diapers on her in the house because she dribbles. But she is otherwise housebroken–never any deliberate messes. Thing about Jilly, though, is that she only wants to get away. From me, from you, from everybody. And get away she will. She’ll come back when she’s on the verge of starving to death, but not one minute before. Not a pet, not a companion, but a large white coyote wannabe who will only be happy living in the wild with only minimal human assistance.


  6. Mrs. B says:

    I do hope someone will come along to take Merlin. As you said, it does seem he needs to be THE senior (only) cat. Have you tried finding him a home via a Maine Coon Society? I totally agree about how lovely and majestic they are! I have two, a male and female (siblings) (plus three more Tabby Cats). They all get along fairly well but there is no doubt in our household who rules and that is Pete, with his sister being a close second. Even our dog is terrified of Pete. Best of luck!!!!!


    • carolkean says:

      For all his need to be The One and Only Cat of the House, he’s doing better now – every morning Merlin and the little tyrant, Bobinski, perch side by side on the sofa, watching birds at the feeder. Soon Bobi gets bored and picks another fight. They don’t draw blood or leave visible scratches. 🙂 Yes, Amy, I’ve posted Merlin’s bio at the Maine Coon Rescue Society. How funny that Pete scares your dog — Merlin hasn’t scared a dog, much less the considerably smaller and declawed (!) Bobi. Merlin looks ferocious and intimidating, but flight, not fight, is his m.o. Thanks for commenting, Amy! You have a LOT of cats!


  7. Pingback: Rescue me: My Beautiful Maine Coon, Merlin « carolkean

  8. Carol Niemann says:

    Oh my, where do I begin. My name is Carol and I now live in NY. It’s a VERY long and sad story, but I had a Maine Coon cat, named Merlin. I was traveling across country with Merlin and my other cat Pete, who was a Manx. I made it to Des Moines IA with both cats and tragedy hit. I believe both cats were put into a shelter in Des Moines, and this was in May 2012. I couldn’t keep my boys, Merlin was 11 years old and Pete was 12yo.

    I have searched on the internet and finally came across the Maine Coon Resue Site. Then I just read the story of your Merlin. My Merlin looked so similar, but he didn’t have so much black on the rear end of him. My Merlin also was in love with sinks and running water. He constantly would jump up to the bathroom sink and wait for me to turn the water on for him. Occassionally I would also find him sitting in the bathtub, wanting the water on there too.

    Merlin and Pete had some wonderful life until everything went wrong in my life.I guess I wonder if your Merlin really could be my old boy!!! I just need to know that he is in good hands and safe.

    If you could be so kind and drop me a line I would really appreciate it. I did get Merlin in CA from a reputable breeder. I had him since he was 16 wks. old, so please understand my concern.

    Thanks so much,

    Carol Niemann


    • carolkean says:

      Carol, I’m so sorry you lost your boys, and I assure you, ours wasn’t one of them. Our Merlin was only two years old when he turned up at the pound, a few years ago. Someone at the pound named him. I’m so sorry you lost your Maine Coons! I miss Merlin SO MUCH – little Bobinsi was here first, though, and for a year, he relentlessly persecuted a cat who was immensely bigger and stronger, but Merlin acknowledged that Bobi was here first, and off he’d go to hide under the bed and escape Bobi’s torments. Finally another Maine Coon lover came to give Merlin a better home. Merlin is King Cat now. No other felines in his home. Merlin was never into faucets. Your cat sounds SO CUTE!! Waiting in the bath tub! I hope you find another Maine Coon soon. They’re my favorites.


  9. Oh he is like my Bandit. Mains are rare in Australia. I can’t believe you paid $25 for him. I’m gagging. You do not want to know what the two of mine cost me! All the same characteristics, love water, play with anything, come when they’re called, talk, do tricks – very big on high five and fetch. Merlin will be happy as King Cat

    Liked by 1 person

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