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Merlion came into our lives on a cold January day 2000; he was rescued by the Cats Protection League near Bridport where he had been living wild for some time. He was a black, longhaired neutered adult male of indeterminate age. They named him Merlin and he was taken to live in Charminister. I was particularly interested in any cat which had been there for some time that had been passed over for adoption. I wanted an adult, black, friendly cat and was intrigued by the name Merlin before I visited the sanctuary to view the available cats; it was love at first sight!! He was twice put back into his cage and he still managed to get out and go over to where the food was stored. This habit lasted his lifetime, he was very food orientated and would let us know when he was hungry. One day my husband remarked that he looked like the Merlion statue, the sea god who guards Singapore harbour and we renamed him Merlion.

He was a large cat in every way, in looks and in personality. Bold, fearless and at times aggressive if he didn’t get his own way. We learned to respect his claws and teeth, as early on he had a habit of leaping at your head or biting bare legs. His quaint way of letting you know he wanted to eat. He trained us very well and quickly and gradually learned to trust us but he still bore a grudge against the black and white cat that moved next door up until the day he died.

He was generally fit and healthy and he went every year to Fielding and Cumber for his annual inoculations, worming etc. He was extremely good having his injections but he objected strongly to the worming tablets. Many a vet tried and many a vet failed to get the pill into him successfully the first time and I had little more success at home. He had one major problem when he pulled his cruciate ligament but he was soon sorted out by Mr Cumber and after medication and rest was completely cured. He also lost a few teeth at various times at the surgery but other than that he has a good healthy life up until March 2010.

Sadly he started being sick and we took him to the vets where he was treated by Sarah, he also stayed as an ‘in-patient’ and all the staff whom I spoke to where extremely good and caring. Unfortunately he continued to be sick and had to be coaxed to eat and dined on roast chicken as this was plain enough for him to digest. He grew steadily worse and eventually we realised he had to be seen again and he was treated by Stuart.  Stuart had to give us the bad news that Merlion would be better put to sleep; this was a very emotional situation and we were very impressed by the professional and caring way he handled the cat’s death. The handwritten sympathy card was much appreciated at this traumatic time. The way the staff behaved towards us was exemplary and everyone whom we had contact with afterwards when collecting Merlion’s ashes were sympathetic and kind. The box he now resides in is very tasteful and I appreciate the care given to our precious cat by all the staff at Fielding and Cumber over the 10 years he was a patient.

Marjorie and Ralph Perriam