Cats,  Feline Fine Art,  Layla Morgan Wilde,  Secrets of Cats,  Shelter Cats

Merlin and Domino Need Purrs & Remembering Radish

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

Domino is recovering well from a URI but Merlin is struggling. He’s on homeopathy, a nebulizer but his appetite is off. For a 20-year-old cat in decline with CKD, it’s life threatening to have a virus. With the death a Radish barely a week ago, it’s a perfect storm of stress to threaten my sanity. In a creatively desperate moment yesterday, I slathered coconut oil onto a wooden honey spoon and Merlin loved it. It jump-started his appetite and he’s eating but not nearly enough. By the time you read this he’ll probably be syringe fed as well. If I’ve learned anything lately, it’s the realization how tenuous life is. All the hope in my heart won’t keep him alive if it’s time to go.

Layla Morgan Wilde & Radish cat-love quote
Layla & Radish

When I first met Radish four months ago, the loud cries of the wiry, ginger cat filled the tiny, shelter room. Get me out of this metal cage. Get me out of this windowless room. Get me out. It was the same every time I opened the door except for the last time. Three weeks ago I opened the door to take him home and he didn’t utter a peep. That was my first clue something was wrong. Hindsight is famously 20/20 and the clues have mounted over the past few weeks. Insights into why he entered my life and why he exited when he did.

I didn’t know until last week what his real purpose was. It’s why his death hit so deep and hard. For weeks I’ve flip flopped between my rational brain and emotions. My logical brain thinks I’ve lost my mind. I may have lost my mind but I found my heart. You see, in my quest to protect my heart once Merlin dies, gradually it got armored instead. On the surface, it seemed like I was as loving as always but it was Teflon-coated. I went through the motions of emotions. Did all the right things. Despite all the therapy, self awareness and wisdom, I’d fooled myself. I felt love but through a filter. I thought I knew the dance of surrendering and letting go but Radish stripped the coating off and cracked me wide open.

He left his mark in retrospect deliberately and prominently in places he would not be forgotten. In every room of the house except the third floor. I can see him in my mind’s eye on the kitchen rug where I stand to cook, beside the sofa where I watch television, beside the bed where I sleep, under my desk where I work and by the front door where I enter and leave our home and where he excited the mortal coil. The carefully planned safe room in a bathroom was never used as I expected. The cat I knew in the shelter was athletic, able to jump to a counter height with ease. Knowing he liked to climb, I created vertical space to perch and look out the windows, gathered a bounty of toys, scratching posts, cozy nooks to hide in, but the cat who arrived could barely walk, let alone jump.

He made it clear during the first night, he would not be requiring the safe room, thank-you very much. Closed doors were not acceptable and he proceeded to sleep in a different room every night as if to make the most of his limited time. Even after a URI took hold and our vet said to keep him in quarantine, we couldn’t do it. The safe room become an ICU for administering meds, sub-q fluids and nebulizer but Radish demanded complete freedom. We fell under the spell of a cat that was more than a cat. He was able to communicate at any given moment exactly what he wanted and we fell backwards surrendering to his every desire. I’m still grappling with the weirdness of everything that happened; of trying to make sense of something beyond logic.

RIP Radish cat Collage

This was the cat who responded in the shelter to any command without training. Come, sit, jump. Sure no problem. Sit on my lap for grooming. No problem. Aggressively bite others but not me? Oops. That should have given me a clue that Radish was not your regular cat and that we had a destiny but I refused to see it. With Merlin in decline, I didn’t dare entertain the thought of bringing another cat home and slammed the door to my heart. Fate had other plans. What I’ve learned is: we can resist, deny and run away from our path but sooner or later something happens to wake us up to get us back on track. Illness, obstacles, opportunities, serendipity, acts of God, death. Whether the experience is perceived as negative or positive is relative and as changeable as the wind. Tragedy can bestow unexpected gifts beyond measure. Pain and grief tempers compassion and strength. We’ve heard all that before but when it happens, we can accept the change or not. These are only my woefully inadequate words but my truth.

As someone used living at full throttle, of being professional, meeting deadlines and going the extra mile, I’m finding it really hard to let go and surrender as my normal life has ground to a halt. Until the new normal is found, I’m feeling as vulnerable as a newborn kitten but curious about what lies ahead. Not only has my heart broken open, I’m facing physical illness, family issues, lost wages and lost opportunities. Never let them see you sweat was my motto. Be transparent but don’t show your hand. We live in a society where the show must go on; grin and bear it at any cost to your body or soul. Mine is screaming: Enough. Stop or we’ll stop it for you with a more serious illness. But wait, I’ve been here before and I only listened halfway. I made changes but as soon as things improved, the old ways and habits returned. Clearly, I have not learned my lesson.

Radish made me realize: this is my life. What’s important? I could be dead just as easily as him. Yup. Why does it take death or near-death or prospect of death to wake us up? I’d planned a different kind of memorial for Radish but I think we’ll be hearing from him again. His work as far my lessons are concerned is not done yet. And Merlin, my other teacher/muse no doubt has a few lessons left for me.

What lies ahead is anyone’s guess but the kindness of friends, strangers and readers like you helped lift the veil of illusion. Thank-you from the bottom of my heart.

Peace, love and purrs of gratitude,

heart rose quote


  • speedyrabbit

    our Babies are never truly gone ,they are always with us even though we can’t see them,I still feel my previous bunnies climb up my legs with their paws on my ankles even though I can’t see a bunny around and that light touch makes me smile every time.Hope Dom and Merlin feel better soon,xx Rachel and Speedy

  • Bernadette

    We may think we’re in control, but only if we close ourselves to reality. I know it was painful, but it was entirely right that you were able to give Radish his final wonderful days. What a blessing.

    Purrs for Merlin, your second in command. I remember while my mother was near her end and actively dying my Cookie suffered uncharacteristic periods of lethargy and anorexia and a URI where she’d never had one before, and I realized how much she’d always generously taken away from me. At 20, it was finally just too much. She lived a year beyond that, though. Purrs for Merlin.

  • Sweet Purrfections

    Special thoughts for you as you go through life’s challenges. The results aren’t always what we expect or want, but life does move forward and we grow because of them. I’ve experienced a lot of challenges in my life, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if those hadn’t occurred.


  • Katie Kat and Mew Mew

    I get it… Radish knew he had a short time and he demanded to get all he could… Thank your for helping him see this world as much as possible before going home to the eternal…. I believe he has a wonderful purpose in Heaven and is enjoying every moment now with such fullness and joy.

    Katie Kat.

  • Marjorie, Harvey, Miranda and Silver

    Layla, and family, you are fine people and fine cats. I heard once the only way out is through – maybe this is right. Go through Layla and Mr, Keep Going Dom and Merlin. You WILL get there. All will be well and right.

    You were so lucky to have Radish. I hope your whole family realises this. He was amazing, and wonderful and awesome. You all are. We all have good and testing times.

    When I got home after my motorbike accident, Paul said maybe it was Dash who stopped me being hurt worse than I have been. I think he could be right – I always felt Dash had gone, that he had left me bereft and alone. Now I know this is not so, Dash never left me, I just never saw him before. It is thanks to spending more time with Radish and you I realise this is true.

  • Pawesome Cats

    We share your feelings of despair and truly understand what you’re going through. We have cried tears for Radish and for you, and are sending warm wishes, hugs and purrs for Merlin and Domino now. xxx

  • Cathy Keisha

    Sending comforting purrz that your heart, soul and body recovers while the memory of Radish never truly dies. Healing purrz for Merlin and Domino.

    We had 2 cats die within 10 days of each other. Nicky, the second one, was my heart cat but I had no tears left for him. It took quite a while for me to break down and really cry and grieve for him since the first cat took all my tears and energy.

  • Caren Gittleman

    Layla my heart is just breaking for you. I pray that things will improve, that sounds so inane but I mean it from the bottom of my heart. I am so sorry that all of these horrific things are surrounding you. You can only be strong for so long. You MUST take care of YOU…..sending love and comforting purrs.

  • meowmeowmans

    Our hearts break for you, and all that you are going through, Layla. Radish was such a special soul, and surely the lessons from your time together will each be revealed as the time is right.

    Love, purrs and prayers, and all good thoughts for Merlin and Domino. And the same for you, dear friend.

  • Skeeter And Izzy

    Layla, Merlin,Domino, Odin and Hubby ,
    we send you prayers and purrs and love and kitty kisses and all the things that we can.
    We ask the universe and powers that be to bless you each in turn.
    Layla, just breathe and ride the hurricane winds of change and let the tears wash your soul clean.
    This is called birth, painful,agonizing, screaming, bleeding birth but the beauty when it is complete is blinding. Just breathe……………………
    I have been born so many times. I think each time that there will not be another then another small soul calls to me and I answer and it begins anew.
    Luvs and purrs and prayers and peace,
    Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang + Twig & Peanut & Romeo >^..^<

  • Penelope

    Radish was a special soul, and he has given you insight into something difficult. Take time to grieve and love and share. We send purrayers to Merlin and Domino. Nellie sends special purrs.

  • Annabelle

    I found Rumi when I lost Abby and found myself over and over again in the words, so Rumi is a very personal touchstone for me.

    Abby broke me, still is breaking me, still teaching me. If not for her I would not have been able to deal with Gracie.

    Radish was a gateway and he knew it long before you did. he came to you to teach you and although in our world he was with you for only a short while, to him it was a lifetime and he was finally able to accomplish what he needed and then he knew it was time for him to go because he knew you would be OK.

    Not right now because it’s too soon, and when the heart is broken open, it takes time…oh there it is again time. Time is magic and time is hell. But it is the truth time will help soothe the ache and heartbreak. Time will reveal all you need to see. Time.

    Loss is a profound experience because it’s so true if you love deeply you will grieve deeply too. It will take you on a Journey with twists and turns and teachings of the heart. I suppose they never completely heal because if they do I haven’t experienced it yet. I think I will always have an Abby sized hole.

    Take comfort in each moment with Merlin, as I see it Radish was here to help you reconnect with him even deeper than you were before. There is your gift Layla.

    I am hoping for the light to bring you comfort.
    Moon or sun, they are always there.
    Thinking of you.

  • Linda

    Healing purrs for Merlin and Domino❤️❤️ And for you, peace, health, happiness and cat power. Radish is with you for a reason.

  • Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey

    With today being the one year anniversary of the unexpected death of my dear Harley, I understand your pain, confusion, and utter disconnect from what was once reality. Whatever that was… Good, bad, or in-between, it was reality and I find, like you do, myself teniously trying to forge new paths, interpret messages, and find my center.

    Finding joy amongst the sadness… tis not easy. Truly is not and I wear my armor close to my heart and soul as well.

    My thoughts are with you and prayers to Merlin as well. May he be comfortable in this last leg of his physical journey as he prepares himself for what awaits him in the great beyond.

  • Tamago

    Kitties can open our heart even when we coat our heart with very strong armour. I hope your broken heart will heal some day. Sending purrs and prayers to you all.

  • Cherry City Kitties

    Hear your own words sweet one. Stop. Be in this moment now and no other. Breathe. Be still. Be peace. You are surrounded by infinite love, so KNOW that. Breathe. Give all to love right now. Let love and light carry you, and the rest, for now, fall away. The love is most important right now, in this moment.

    Merlin, put on your amber collar, if you are not already wearing it. You know I’m all about you and amber light…

    Domino, I know you have been watching over the others, but take a moment for your own self healing.

    Peace and love my friend.

  • mariodacat

    My heart is breaking for you. Radish sounds like a wonderful kitty, and you were blessed to have had him even for a short few months. Know that you gave him the best life possible – one full of love and kindness. I’m sorry his time with you was so short, but you made the best of it. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your two other kitties. We hope they recover and are with you awhile longer.

  • Sammy

    Layla you have received above so many amazing messages, I feel that we are all – somehow – reading from the same spot in our hearts because their words are MY words. I believe Radish was a messenger for you – you took in that message and gave back all you could……I’m hoping Merlin will make yet another comeback – he knows you need him but I think he’s “ready” and knows just as Radish did that he will go surrounded by love thanks to you. Please take care of yourself though – the “well” we draw from in taking care of everyone/thing around us gets low at times and no doubt this is one of those times for you in MANY ways. I’m sending you love, light, hugs, and some “energy” for that well.


  • maggie

    You had me at the amazing Rumi quote on the first picture…
    then to read on just made my heart ache for you.
    The E. E Cummings poem popped into my head for some reason and I looked it up:

    here is the deepest secret nobody knows
    (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
    and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
    higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
    and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

    i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

  • da tabbies o trout towne

    domino…dood….we hope yur standin on de roadz called health & ree coveree N ya haz told de nasteez ta kizz yur buttz ♥♥♥

    merlin….dood… man standin bye ewe everee step oh de way; thatz St Francis buddy ♥♥♥

    radish…can ya pleez visit yur mom now ….in sted of…waitin……N pleez let her noe ewe iz happee healthee & fulla sass again……N can ya tell her what ya knead ta tell her…ewe noe what we meen…..♥♥♥

  • Melissa & Truffles

    Oh Layla, I’m so sorry that you’re hurting so much. You’ve been through a lot, with still more to come, but you need to take some time to take care of yourself, too. I think that’s one of the greatest lessons we can learn from our beloved cats. {{{Hugs}}}

  • Kathryn

    This is a beautiful tribute to Radish, who was indeed very special, for all the reasons you intuitively felt and have cited. I now worry about Merlin, for the loss of a cat whose been with their person their entire life is indeed very difficult. I lost 10 pounds that I couldn’t afford to lose when Emma went at 20. I couldn’t eat or sleep. Got a Calico later the same day, but she met her end within a few months. My kids remember Emma, even though they were 2 and 4. My college boyfriend bought her for me, and she lived in Chicago, Montreal, Toronto and Boston.

    I pray for Radish and for Merlin.

    Love and light and peace.

    • Kathryn

      And the photos of Radish are wonderful. I think about him constantly. I had imagined that if I could ever have taken him home I would have done so in a heartbeat, knowing that the future was uncertain, so I understand your grief and your feelings.

      Purrs for Merlin and DomDom. And Odin, too, if he needs Purrs.

      I remember back in the day when your kitties were Merlin and Coco!

      Speaking of Coco, knowing that Radish’s real name was Coco, now the two Cocos are together.

  • Dorothy

    I will light a candle for Merlin & Odin, while asking the Universe to send them strength and healing energy. For you, I will ask for Peace, Strength Healing and Clarity. I find it’s scary to express my thoughts here because sounding like a fruitcake is so easy. Does it sound insane to think that Radish appeared, only wanting you, because Merlin called him? Because your familiars realized you were fortifying your emotions to protect yourself from the pain that’s sure to come and Radish was the bomb that knocked down the walls you were erecting? And perhaps you still see Radish, in your minds eye, because he’s still there? Just as Merlin will be there to help you heal after he transitions? I know life is overwhelming right now and many of your tried and true defenses seem to be useless. Consider what you learned from Radish. Perhaps the answers are there? You know that life is a gift, to be treasured. But death, when it’s time comes, is a gift just as generous. I’ve always though death is most painful for those left grieving. But for the one that is moving on, once the pain of the physical world lets go, that must be a freedom we cannot even imagine. And I’m rambling. Remember, the strength you need is right there, within who and what you love. You and yours are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • easy rider

    I’m so sad that Radish couldn’t enjoy more time in a forever home and it’s so sad that you had just suc a short time together… I cross my paws for Merlin, the cat who is as wise as the man who shared his name with him…

  • Carolyn

    I think your eloquent words will resonate with many, Layla. Life is for living and loving and learning and each one of those can be very painful. Sending purrs and big hugs xx

  • Cary Hillman

    I’ve shed tears for Radish and you…I know how hard it is to lose one of your furkids. I’m praying for Merlin. I care and I share your pain.

  • ellen

    Truly to love and be loved is every creature’s life’s mission. Radish found that love in you, and you in him. He knew by intuition that your heart was big enough to contain what he was offering and it was accepted gratefully and gracefully.
    Merlin’s time may be short now, but Radish’s presence has made you stronger. Maybe that too was part of his mission. Cats are mysterious and magical creatures we may never know.

    I also was owned by a meezer who made it almost as far as your Merlin has. When my Tan’na went OTB I wanted to go with him, I was lost and was alone. His greatest gift to me was spending the time nursing him in the end, and opening my heart to other cats who needed me. I will never ever forget him, and his lessons.

    I hope your Merlin makes a rebound, I hope he stays around for a bit longer.I hope more than anything that although your heart will feel shattered in a million pieces that there will peace and love and the realization you have more love to give, for truly as long as we have breath we love.

    Peace and purrs and healing to you….

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