photo of Merlin the Cat

Our cat Merlin was terminally ill. We were heartsick and did everything we could think of to make him happy in his last months. We stopped vacuuming because he hated the sound. We fed him as many “Friskies Temptations” as he wanted. We sat with him on the deck for as long as he wanted to, because he loved to sniff the air and watch the birds, and he wasn’t allowed out there alone. So there we all sat, for hours every day. He would perk up every time a bird flew past or a squirrel ran by. We wanted him to have the time of his life until the end. That meant birds, squirrels, crunchies and love. He was as sweet as can be and loved nature.

Merlin was his happiest watching the birds from the deck. He would observe, and I would take photos and videos of the birds and other creatures with my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV. The birds were comfortable hanging out and staying in one place for minutes at a time, posing all around the yard like models for still photos. I’d snap pics while the squirrels and winged creatures vogued for me, then I’d take videos through the same camera. I wondered if making a video with my DSLR wouldn’t prematurely kill the shutter, but I went ahead, and boy, it videoed with great quality and ease. As it turns out it was designed to take videos, so I didn’t have anything to worry about.

There we were every day on the deck. Merlin was directing and letting me know where the cool birds and other creatures were posing in the yard. Meanwhile, I was figuring out what works in moving pictures for cats.

So how did we figure out that Merlin enjoyed videos for cats to watch? Well, I started putting together little montages of the footage that I’d gathered from the deck and sharing them with my wife, who was Merlin’s constant companion. We noticed that Merlin was watching with her and participating as if he was in the yard. He’d stalk the creatures on the screen and pounce trying to catch them behind the computer screen as they flew or ran away. We enjoyed watching him because he was so earnest and cute. It was obvious he looked forward to his video time. He would let us know when he wanted to watch a video by sitting on the laptop and saying “Meooooow!”

Merlin is gone now and we miss him very much. I’d like to think we helped him fulfill his kitty bucket list by letting him direct many videos for cats during his hospice. And I have him to thank for bringing me into the 21st century, giving me the encouragement to take my long standing hobby of photography to the next level. Long Live Merlie!


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