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ManCat Monday: The Best Or Worst Gift Ever

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

Mancat Monday: The Best Or Worst Gift Ever.

It’s Mondays with Merlin with some help today from my fur bros. Domino and Odin, the best mancat pals a cat could ask for. When Layla got back from Florida, the first signs of spring had sprung and the boys abandoned me to spend most of the day on the porch or garden. It’s still not warm enough for me to me out for more than a few minutes because I have zero body fat. My auntie Sarah stopped by for a visit and was shocked to see how skinny I’d become and frankly, everyone is shocked I’m still alive.

There is a Finnish word my grandmother said I have bundles of and that’s sisu. It’s a dogged determination against all odds to persevere. The only food I want now is raw and I’m ravenous for it day and night. No, I will not go gently into the night. It’s driving everyone to re-examine what is best at a time when everyone is feeling their worst. My feline comrades look concerned at me at times with me flailing with blind (literally) determination to get from point A to B blind. They know. Cats have an intuitive sense about life and death. We don’t fear either but live in the moment as best we can.

Domino was out sunning himself on the big chair overlooking the burial mound. It was Gris Gris’ old chair by his grave and you could say Domino he looked mournful but let’s not anthropomorphize shall we? Okay, if we are going to go there, I could say his gaze is like “Blue Steel” from the film Zoolander. Domino gets points for surviving another winter. A big deal when you consider he spent 7 winters outdoors as a feral. We all survived but the toll was great. Sadness laced with anxiety and anger has crept into every crevice of our old house in anticipation of my demise. The humans would call it grace under fire BUT…blessed spring is here and I clearly have unfinished business.


Then the box arrived. A special delivery. We knew it was coming but it came early. We’re used to parcels and boxes arriving. After 5 years of testing hundreds of cat products and reviewing hundreds of cat books, we know the drill. This new box lay unopened until yesterday. When Layla asked my dad, who it was from, he went all silent like guys do when they know but rather not tell. You don’t have to be a mind reader to know this would not be a new catnip toy.

Layla carefully opened the box from PawPods and found another box but not just any box but a eco-friendly burial casket. Casket? Like a coffin a box to bury the dead in or the other meaning of casket (n.) small and often ornate box for holding jewels or other valuables. Holy Bastet and curl my whiskers, but this is either the worst gift in the world or the best. I stayed upstairs and wasn’t privy to the unveiling. Cats don’t care for fancy things. Simple and natural is our mantra. I trust Layla to consider what’s best for me and I know she honors every hair on my 21-year-old body.


Odin our #1 products tester, heard the rip of a box opening and showed up in Pavlov’s dog fashion thinking catnip, catnip, catnip, treats, treats, treats. It almost doesn’t matter what the item is if the box it came in suits him. Odin has never met a box he didn’t like. The PawPod is silky smooth and surprisingly sturdy considering it’s made of bio-degradable bamboo and rice husks. The lid snaps on nice and tight but easily removed if you need to make any last minute changes. You could take a marker and doodle on it or paint a design.

The great thing about having it before we need it is having the time to prepare and make it special. Layla is thinking of doing a mandala design on top and finding the softest silk to wrap me in. Sounds rather spiffy already. Pet loss rituals and memorials are healing for everyone connected to the pet.

Doing some prep in advance is like a dress rehearsal to rein in stress and inform more meaningful choices.

Odin sniffed and immediately jumped into the box containing the PawPod. As soon as Layla removed it, he had a moment of confusion but read Layla’s mind about the real purpose and lost interest. Okaaaay, no catnip, no treats, no toys. I’m out of here. There was an odd moment of knowing we were all in sync and it was all okay.



Humans can be so judgmental but cats never are. We accept your fashion choices, weird habits and poor decisions. Cats think life and death are natural, unpredictable and a divine mystery. Dear humans, we get it.

Talking about death, funerals, or grieving can be awkward or creepypants uncomfortable. But like all fear-based emotions, they ease once the conversation starts and action is taken, like right meow. Planning ahead, whether providing for your pet in your will, prepping supplies for a funeral, memorial or burial can bring peace of mind.


If this post resonates with you, let us know in a comment and/or share.


See you next week for another Mondays With Merlin.

Love always,


Special thanks to PawPods for the gift. Best or worst gift? In my infinite wisdom I have deemed it the BEST gift ever for anyone with a pet in deep decline. Pawpods also make urns for cremation. Not all states in the U.S. allow pet owners to bury their pets in the backyard so check you state regulations. Pawpods make cute little fish pods and they are keen on stopping the practice of flushing goldfish and other aquatics being down the toilet. Not only is it disrespectful for a child’s early experience of pet loss but goldfish are now considered an invasive species.

FTC discaimer. This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% feline and true.

Special paws taps to Domino, Odin and Nou Nou for their friendship and acceptance for what is. Oh yeah, my mom could use a hug and it’s my dad’s birthday today!



  • Nellie

    Yous knows that is actually a pretty cool gift.
    When Hissy Old Licorice passed, Mommy had put away the basket that he used to travel in. She got it out and put him wrapped in his favorite blanket in it and then they buried him in the garden, The basket purrfect,
    We have talked about it (as Me is so old) and when mes goes over the bridge, mes is going to bes cremated. Then Mommy can takes mes back to Midway and my ashes can bes buried in the Licorice Memorial Garden. If Mes was living in Midway, we would look at getting one.
    Lots of Loving Nellie Kisses

  • Angel Ms. Phoebe's Family

    Dearest nephew upon reading this post tears came to my eyes- bittersweet tears. As much as I would rather not anyone we love have to leave us I know that is the cycle of life, and as there is much sadness involved there is also much joy. Sadness in missing, not seeing our loved one in this life again, yet there is joy in memories, the gratitude we feel having the gift of knowing them, and the love we shared with this soul that left such an impact on us and the Earth.
    To some humans out there you are just a cat, one they may remark lived to an impressive age. To those of us who appreciate and recognize the worth felines have as individuals and as part of the family, you are an amazing being all your own, a soul who shared your wise spirit with us. Therefore honoring your passing is just another part of showing the love felt for you, and preparation is a huge part of this love. For a pet parent it is a difficult process however I personally feel it helps in the grieving process even if our fur child is not yet gone. Nothing is worse than losing a fur baby unexpectedly or suddenly then feeling as if you not only didn’t get to tell them how much they meant to you, were your life but then having to deal with decisions regarding burial/cremation and the costs, choices, etc that accompany them. I support and understand your family’s need to do this, how the ritual will help them mourn you when the time comes that you are ready to go. They will feel reassured they have sent you on the journey to your next phase of life in the manner befit the wonderful mancat you are, this reassurance being a comfort and big part of the acceptance stage of the grieving process.

  • Maggie

    Wishing Merlin’s Dad a happy birthday. This is so hard, but
    whatever ritual brings comfort seems like the right thing to do.
    Sending you hugs, Layla, from Maggie, Mickey Mouser, and Rufus the Red

  • Deziz World

    We don’t have a purroblem talkin’ ’bout death or da purrpurrations needed to make things go smoothly. But we don’t like to dwell on it. Altho’ we’s not da name it claim it kind, we don’t like to “name it” much just in case.

    Luv ya’


  • Ellen

    Happy Birthday to you Dad Merlin!

    Death sucks. I think truly, it sucks more for humans, it’s like we have to plan and prepare and have our rituals. Animals on the other hand, ‘know’ it’s time and as you mentioned even other animals sense it. It seems animals are much more in tune with the circle of life than we are.You know when it is time, and you go…. and as humans we miss you although in spirit and in our hearts you will always be there.

    Actually its a quite beautiful pod, and I have always liked flowers planted so thats nice too. And tell Odin to stay the heck away from it, it isnt a litter box, and leaving anything but nice things in it would be just naughty.

    You always look beautiful Merlin, and I do hope it warms up more soon so you can enjoy the sunshine, Stay hungry!

  • Ellen Pilch

    Happy Birthday to your Dad! And I am sending a hug to your Mom. I pray you won’t need that gift for a long time. I am happy to hear that you are enjoying your raw diet so much. XO

  • Andrea

    Merlin I don’t even know what to say except that it is a wonderful gift. I am like one as Summer wrote, I deny, deny, deny. I can pretend that I am prepared but it is never true. When the time has come I am somehow surprised. I’m comfortable believing that Layla is properly prepared to give you whatever you need when the time comes but it will still be hard. I hope she knows that we all support her.

  • Sometimes Cats Herd You

    What a wonderful gift from the Paw Pods people. Having a plan is a big gift to lots of humans. It doesn’t have to hurry you, but it eases some of their human anxieties. Anything that frees up Layla’s thoughts so she can focus on you in the here and now is a good thing, isn’t it?

  • Flynn

    It is a thoughtful gift, Merlin, but one I hope you won’t need for some time yet. All the cats who came before are buried in our Memorial Garden and each have a rose planted over them to mark their grave. When it is my time, I will be beside my brother once again and will be buried in my favourite blanket and with my favourite nippy toy.

  • Sammy

    Merlin I don’t know what to say my friend except the more Mom and I thought about it, the more we like PawPods – like you I am not far from the day when I will bid a fond farewell to this life and move onto the next. I dread the day we find out you have left us but I know that you won’t go until you feel it’s the right time. It’s what we do……..right? It’s never a GOOD time, but there is a right time and we know that. I’m sure your Mom Layla will decorate your pod appropriate to the wizard that you are and always will be. But let’s not rush things – we both have much work to do yet. I’m mentally holding your paw Merlin……I hope you feel the reassurance.

    Love, Sammy

  • Karen Lucas and Jane, Henry and Lily

    Dearest Merlin, even though these things are the natural outcome of, in your case, a long wise life, I would wish that this would happen in the far distant future. It is a gift though that your loving mom and dad don’t have to worry about some of the details. In our cat household, we have had all of our kitties cremated and they are with us in a cabinet in our house which many people find quite odd. We still talk to them and realize that at some point we will need to take the next step. In the meantime, we love you Merlin and wish you safe passage when the time comes.

  • Lola

    This is a bitter sweet gift. Layla will miss you dearly, but it should be comforting to know plans will be made and not have to be worried about at the last minute. It’s a sad thing to think about…..

  • Fur Everywhere

    I’m glad Layla finds comfort in planning for you. Even though I knew Jewel would leave us, I wasn’t very prepared – she went down suddenly and quickly. I had thought about her passing many times before, but there is nothing that could have prepared me for the pain and heartache I felt when she left us.

    • Layla Morgan Wilde

      Every life and death is different. Like you and dear Jewel, I had some time to prepare when Coco died (we’d scheduled the euthanasia) but very little other some finding a box. Sudden death is a blur with shock and confusion. There is little time to think of options but at least having a checklist in advance to refer to can help. And yes there is no prep for pain and heartache– they are sisters of the grieving process.

  • The Swiss Cats

    Happy Birthday to your dad !
    You and your mom are so wise, Merlin. We think the less you speak about death, the more scary it is. Each of us, and every angel before us has his place in our garden. You’re right, simple and natural suits the best to cats. We hope you’ll need your PawPod as late as possible, but we’re glad know you’re ready and quiet about the day you’ll leave us. Big hugs to your mom. Purrs

  • Tamago

    That is a kind of gift that gives me very mixed feeling, but as departure is inevitable for everyone, I think it’s a good thing to be prepared.
    Happy birthday to your dad. Have a wonderful week!

    • Layla Morgan Wilde

      Thanks, we’re having a good day here. Tamago, mixed feelings are probably the most common to acknowledge.A left brain, (logic) right brain (feeling) bouncing back and forth. Our practical or logical side thinks it good to be prepared and our emotions are going into fear, denial and resistance. This is also true whenever anything radical comes into our lives to upset the status quo. The ultimate change and new way of thinking will make everyone happier and healthier but we get there one conversation at a time πŸ™‚

  • Skeeter and Izzy

    Happy Birthday Dad!! Biggest bestest hugs Mom!
    Merlin we think that the “gift” is one of the nicest, most beautiful, kindest gifts ever. We know what it is like to lose one so dear but this is so very cool and is befitting one that we love. It honors the loss in a way that is often times difficult to do. We are glad that you have your POD and it will be decorated and lined to befit the true Wizard King that you are. It will help. We know that you will chose the time but until it comes enjoy every breath and touch of sunshine and live in joy. Death is the joy that reunites us with our creator and makes us all equals.
    All of our loves and purrs and prayers.
    Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang + Twig & Peanut & Romeo and the Angels >^..^^..^<~

    • Layla Morgan Wilde

      Dearest Skeeter and Izzy et. al. Thanks for you god wishes and bestest hugs! Wow, we didn’t think of our POD as being cool but it is! LOVE “Death is the joy that reunites us with our creator and makes us all equals.” xoxo

  • The Meezers and Billy SweetFeets

    Merlin, after living with our Grampa Norton and Gramma Trixie when we (well me Sammy and mine little brother Miles) we know that being older and blind can be a hardship. Preparing for the trip to the Rainbow Bridge is important. Grampa Norton and Gramma Trixie both let us know about it before they went, so we are not afraid.
    That is a beautiful gift! And even though you are not ready for it, it’s nice for your parents to know that it’s there.

  • Kathryn

    Hugz to your mom and Happy B-day to your dad, Merlin. You’re still going strong. At 21, any ‘still going’ is going strong. Fascinating burial pod. I think of you every day when I look at our Mao, who has lost 2 or 3 pounds since Christmas. You’re a veteran cat survivor, Merlin. A cat of all cats. You’ve survived so much and you’re graceful at everything you do. Love to you every day.

    • Layla Morgan Wilde

      Thanks Kathryn, I guess any cat still kicking at 21 is ticking πŸ™‚ I’ve been thinking about Mao and diagnosis. The weight loss with CKD is gradual and stabilizes, there can be weight gain and every cat and situation is different. xoxo

  • easy rider

    Happy Birthday to your dad and the biggest weim-hug ever to your momma… and hugs to you all too… I can not really imagine a world without you, but the idea PawPods had is a good one… even when it is so darned sad to think about this topic…

    • Layla Morgan Wilde

      Oh, nothing is better than a big weim-hug from you! Yes, it’s a sad subject which is why people would rather share millions of funny cat videos instead. Maybe we need Simon’s Cat to make a funny one about death?

  • Summer

    Merlin, even though I understand at a deep level the comings and goings of living things (because being a cat, I just know these things), I’m still sad at the thought of you leaving us. This is a wonderful gift and will be a lovely way to honor you… but I still would rather not think about that right now.

    • Layla Morgan Wilde

      Summer, death, my death or any death of those close to us is sad and it’s easier not to think about it. Denial is a coping mechanism to help humans deal with what is unpleasant. Layla noticed old feelings about past losses are popping now and perhaps it could be the case for your losses both (human and feline) xo

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