When we brought Merm home we learned pretty quickly that he was something of a magical cat.
First, he wasn't the cat that the Humane Society said he was. He was clearly older, crabbier, and smarter. Somehow he'd wrangled his way into the holding area of a three-year old tabby, but we later learned that Merm was neither three. Nor a tabby. Nor ready for adoption.
His first vet check up revealed that he had a heart murmur and the vet said he could live 5 years or five weeks, but that the case of mites he'd picked up at the humane society wasn't helping.
We got him cleaned up and brought him home anyway. And he quickly became highly ranked among Gaia's best and most special friends.
He was named in honor of her cousin Kyra's cat "Nermal" but because of the comunication challenges between 3, 6, and 36 year olds, the cat was named "Mermal." and he was called "Merm" or "Mermriel" for short.
Merm, however, was not the familiar that Gaia was looking for. Merm was an old man. He was less interested in the cuddly, frenetic energy of a three-year-old companion and more interested in attending to his own comfort. And attend to his own comfort he did.
Gaia eventually found her familiar. And Merm settled into a role he was very happy to play: The Big, Comfortable kitty.
Which is not to say it was a one-way relationship. He was quite good at taking care of Jenifer when she was ill, and would sleep on the bed with Gaia when she needed extra companionship.
About two weeks ago he came downstairs full time. Merm almost never came downstairs. he was an upstairs cat. He took to laying in the sunshine and moving around the lower part of the house to keep tabs on us. He was tired of being alone, I think.
We wished him well last night as we went off to bed. he was beginning to look weary. We told him to make sure he was comfortable and that he didn't need to stay with us if he thought there was something better for him. He flipped his tail and sighed, but stayed on the floor of the guest bedroom.
When we we found him on Saturday Morning. He'd moved his tired old body in to the sunshine in the kitchen where he passed. Quietly. Comfortably. And from all indications, with neither fear nor distress.
He was a good friend. He was loved and he will be missed.
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