For 14 years and two days, Merlin has been the undisputed sovereign of my household. But this regal feline’s long reign ended Sunday afternoon. The king is dead.
I already had a houseful of cats and dogs in 2008. The last thing I needed was one more. But the beautiful stray cat who spent time all over my neighborhood was spending more and more time on my porch.
The woman I was dating at the time named him Merlin because of his full white beard that that made him look like a wise old wizard.
On Nov. 18, 2008, the weather turned cold in Birmingham and the low was heading below freezing that night. I brought Merlin inside to protect him against the cold. I didn’t intend to keep him — but he never left.
The other cats loved Merlin. They deferred to him, not out of fear, but as though they owed him respect and obedience. From the very beginning, he was their king. And so began the 14 years during which he ruled over them all — and he was loved by all of us.