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National Pet Memorial Day During Hurricane Season

The second Sunday of September is National Pet Memorial Day and this year is especially poignant. For over 40 years, longer than most of us have been cat lovers, the International Association of Pet Cemeteries has designated a day to honor pets past and present.

Usually, I take time to honor all the many pets in my life but this year, at least at this blog I’m focusing on Merlin who passed in May 2016.  I’m nervous and worried.  Not only have there been way too many losses in my world, but thousands of cat lives will be lost from all the recent disasters from earthquakes, floods, fires and hurricanes. As I write this, Hurricane Irma is poised to unleash her fury on Key West and the 54 cats at Hemingway House. They’ve weathered other storms but we’re crossing all paws and praying for a positive outcome. There are dozens of shelters and sanctuaries dotted across Florida and many like Brigid’s Crossing in Naples that visited a few years ago, have hundreds of cats used to roaming freely without a solid commercial building.

All I can say is please purr, pray or petition the cat gods for their safe survival.  Share this graphic if you like.

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Merlin’s memorial garden burial mound grew tropical lush this summer. Yesterday I weeded and cut back the overgrown vines. Enough time has passed for the raw ache to pass and warm memories soothe the jagged edges of pain.  It took me a year before I could look at his funeral photos and see his scrawny old body without wincing. He’d been ill for so long in a gradual decline of kidney disease, I didn’t realize the toll it took on my own health. Now I can see him at peace and wonder how the hell did he manage to live almost 22 years. During the life altering grieving process that nearly killed me, I learned how to live. I’m still learning.

Every grieving journey is as unique as a fingerprint and this one surprised me more than any of the others. At first, it was deceptively easy, gentle as an angel’s kiss and I honored the process. Little did I know, the journey would unravel layers of unprocessed emotions to my core. Just when I thought, well that’s done, another layer of the onion revealed something new, deeper, darker and scary. It didn’t feel like grieving only because I didn’t have a language to define or categorize it. I questioned everything in an attempt to understand the stages, phases intellectually. Meanwhile, the answers eluded me but my body was spilling secrets and screaming at me to listen. I listened and said, nevermind, not now, I can’t go there. Denial is not a river in Eygpt but lives in my emotional neighborhood. One with a big sign: DO NOT ENTER. 

Cats enter and exit our lives for any number of reasons but if we’re lucky, they bestow wisdom, insight and just about everything we need except maybe the winning lottery numbers. Being curious as a cat, I trespassed in the familiar but unfamiliar territory. And being as stubborn as Merlin was it took much head bashing and teeth gnashing to learn the lessons he so patiently dished out while alive and from the great beyond. Even the lessons I thought I’d aced, came up for review. I’m still going the process which is why I’m not blogging much. but I am writing. Grieving is a remarkable opportunity for personal growth if you’re willing to dig in and peel that stinky onion.

National Pet Memorial Day

 

Haiku from a Zen master is fitting. Death is no different than a train ticket. The train might be late but most run on a timely schedule of arrivals and departures. Once the train has departed, there is no going back. You might be able to catch a connecting train but that’s a story for another day. Today is about pausing to honor the cats we love or have loved.

The casket shown above is a biodegradable one from Paw Pods and perfect eco-friendly choice. Our organic garden is an everyday reminder of impermanence. The seasons change, the birch logs are rotting, the leaves are drying and the ink is fading Merlin’s name but not his memory. And of course Merlin has to have the last word.

National Pet memorial day

Message From Merlin

I thought that you might like to know I got here safe and sound
Though you must feel rather strange not having me around;
Of course, I am not really gone, I’ve just moved out of sight,
And I don’t need that old body, things had stopped working right.
Sometimes I’m sorely tempted, to pop back down and see,
Just how you are managing, without any help from me,
But I’m sure that you will understand I can’t come back to stay,
Though I have it on good authority that we’ll meet again some day.

The chow up here’s delicious – Ambrosia brand, it’s named,
Once you’ve tasted this stuff, Fancy Feast is a crying shame,
And holy cat gods, there is a nectar as thick and creamy as it comes,
It’s not like other dairy products and doesn’t give me the runs.
I haven’t found the litter box, and THIS perplexes me,
That however much I wolf down, I never have to pee.
But there are other plus points, which cannot be ignored,
My legs are made for leaping way higher than before.

Another little oddity, that leaves me quite astounded,
Underneath my tail end are two lumps, furry and rounded –
I can’t remember having them when I lived down there with you,
And up here, all I can say – I’m a real mancat, how do you do.
Oh yes – I’ve got a comfy bed, just like mine down there at home,
So things here are quite delightful, I cannot gripe or groan;
But while I’m up here waiting, in my cushy cat bed in the sky,
I’ll regularly look in on you, and keep a watchful eye.

 

From Shelter Cat to Spokescat: Adopt A Shelter Cat Month

From Shelter Cat to Spokescat: Adopt A Shelter Cat Month by Clyde

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Can we start by saying Hello Monday and why can’t it be Caturday every day? Have you ever had one of those weeks when everything goes wrong? We were without a computer for a couple days and Layla, who detests editing or writing anything beyond two words on a phone, fumed. I’d wanted to blog about all kinds of fun news, but alas, must rely on imperfect humans. It was one thing after after including Odin escaping. If you’re not reading this on cell, you’ll be able to view thumbnails in our sidebar of our adventures on Instagram.

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And here I am being an advocate for adoption but might I add, responsible adoption. Can you believe it’s been six months since I found a new home? Not bad for an old boy of 17, eh? I’m doing pretty good and we celebrate every day my blood sugar is normal and don’t need insulin!

adopt a shelter cat month

Do whatever you can to help and you can always do something to help shelter cats. Read our tips on how to choose the best cat for you. Adopt a Shelter Cat Month is in June but cat ownership is a serious, long term commitment. Cats can get sick, get lost and cause untold worry, but it’s worth it. Back to Odin.

Yes, Odin my idiot adventure cat brofur escaped through an open window in the kitchen after midnight.  You may ask why was the window open without a screen? Because Layla, who wasn’t wearing glasses, opened it at dinner time assuming the screen was in place but it wasn’t. Never assume anything. Cats don’t. It’s why a human could enter the same room every day, but we will look at him and give him the once over. Do I know you? Oh yeah, it’s you, okay then.

Anyway, no one noticed anything amiss until the usual “have you seen Odin, Nou Nou or Domino” exchange if the folks haven’t seen a cat in say, 10 minutes. They never mention my name because I’m reliably in one of two locations.

Odin had already been in and out ALL day as per usual. He’d been seen napping in the dining room after dinner. All hell broke out when the open window was spotted and Odin was nowhere to be seen. Dad blamed Layla and went to bed past midnight. That left Layla, with flashlight in hand wearing slippers and a sarong wandering through the jungle-like property trying not the yell, “Odin!” too loudly. Although our neighbors already know she’s a crazy cat lady. We’re in a heatwave, Layla is sweaty and freaked out about spiders and ticks or spraining her ankle in a gopher hole. It would not be the first time. The trees and bushes look ominous in the dark and Odin who is trained to come when called, doesn’t.

Layla decides to go back inside and work. He may have been out of earshot and figured he’ll tire and return on his own.

An hour later, she heads back out in another direction near our long driveway, shining arcs of light and calling the bugger’s name. This time he runs towards her, she scoops him up and is rewarded by the itch of poison ivy and a tick on Odin’s chin. The moral of the story: wear your glasses if you need them. It’s summery weather and please check that all windows are secure. Never assume.

On a more frivolous note: Have you entered our giveaways? They end soon and it’s as easy as leaving a comment at the post. It can be as short as one word but do it right meow. We apologize for issues with using the share button to Facebook. If that happened, please let us know.

1) You could win a copy of the hot #1 book ADVENTURE CATS (Maybe Odin needs to read it).  Shhh, we’re adding another prize but only if you’ve read this will you know.

2) We’re also adding a bonus prize to our Purrfect Pouch GIVEWAY

And because I am a purrveyor of wisdom, here you go, my dears. You can’t teach an old old dog new tricks but you can stay young by playing. I didn’t like playing with toys after I left the shelter, but I do now. Keep playing with your cats with toys and with anything silly if it amuses you.

I wish you adventures and no misadventures this week,

Love Clyde and company

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Merlin The Cat: Life After Death

Merlin The Cat; Life After Death by his cat mom, Layla.

We’re about to reach our sixth year of blogging at Cat Wisdom 101 with over 2000 posts. A popular category from the start has been Mondays With Merlin. Merlin died last May but being a larger than life character, he continued to blog from the great beyond. He handed over the reins to Clyde in early 2017 but still makes his presence felt with guest appearances.

For the longest time, I debated sharing the very last photo taken in the garden a couple days before he died. The purple phlox were in bloom as they are today and Merlin wanted to lie on the sun warmed driveway. He was so bony at that point, I placed a folded blanket with support for his head. It’s not a particularly good photo but it’s the final photo outdoors. He loved and lived for the garden, a place of security for 15 years after six tumultuous years of multiple moves and change. We all take photos of our cats, some every day but we never know which shot will be “it”. The last shot alive.

As the anniversary of his death approached, I wanted to put together a tribute but nothing felt right. How do you condense hundreds of posts, thousands of photos, 21 years and millions of memories? What do you share with the world or keep tucked safely in the privacy of your soul? I don’t know.

I do know that when he died on May 11, 2016 at about 10:30 in the morning, it was a gorgeous spring day. Sunny and warm with a burst of green blooming overnight. Merlin, ever a sun worshipper was sunbathing on his favorite pillow, purchased when he was kitten. He was never one for cat beds since he slept under the covers with me but did enjoy a soft pillow. He also loved lounging on the hammock or blankies with me in the garden in his later years. I didn’t see him die but my husband did. They always spent the mornings together. Merlin napping or watching Joe read the paper, have coffee and dig into email. I would be sleeping, being an night owl and would get up sometime before noon. Little did I know that Merlin’s death would flip my inner clock and plunge me into a mysterious illness nearly killing me. I’m still doing daily battle but feel hopeful about the future.

I didn’t see Merlin die but knew his time was up and did a gentle farewell photo shoot the day before. I couldn’t write about his death until a month later and even then, the post left out more than it revealed. Merlin died as easily and magically as he’d lived.  We should all be so lucky but nothing can prepare you for death.  Being old and ill with chronic kidney disease meant death whispered daily. Close calls, emergency vet visits, incremental decline while monitoring his quality of life. When Joe brought a lifeless fur baby into bed, life as I knew it was over. And yet I was about to embark on a big project, do two fundraising campaigns on Kickstarter for the Black Cats Tell All book, prepare a huge blogoversary giveaway and curate a mountain of book submissions. Oh, and find time to grieve. Bless Merlin for making it easy or easier.  It allowed me to plow forward making short order of work but ignoring the growing physical symptoms. It’s taken a year and several false starts to begin healing and grieving is  a part of it.

Joe wanted to bury Merlin in the garden which is our preference.  Merlin’s sister Coco, Gris Gris and Radish would be waiting. I’d selected a beautiful spot near Angel Gris Gris but I couldn’t bear the thought of letting him go, so I didn’t. I’ve made many poor decisions in my life but while unorthodox, my decision to live with a dead animal for days, was one of my wisest.

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Merlin selects his future resting place.

I made a lovely and meaningful altar where he laid wrapped in a blanket not nine feet from where I slept. The room flickered with candles. Incense wafted, the music of Buddhist prayers chanted, freshly picked lily of the valley filled the air with sweet smells. It was oddly comforting sleeping with him in the same room.

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He was like a king lying in state and time stood still. A day passed and then another. Joe was getting antsy about the burial but it wasn’t time.  Frankly, he thought I was crazy. I searched Chinese tong shu almanacs for auspicious burial days. Merlin became to smell on the third day but the best burial date wasn’t until the 15th, four days after his death.  It was the perfect day and time. The gloomy day brightened after the grave was done and during the funeral, the sky suddenly sparkled with sunshine as Merlin was laid to rest. No regrets. No guilt but no deep grieving as I’d expected. Instead, I internalized the loss, kept working at breakneck speed until something broke. That’s another story and another book.

 

In hunting down photos to share I had to dig through thousands of images of all sorts just from the past two years.  Many unbearably painful to look at. Some I could see with fresh eyes. It took all night. I found an old video from 2013 which I don’t think anyone has seen and a  bizarre accidental 1 second video from 2015. There was no sound or talking but I could swear I can hear “Merlin”. I’ve learned in the past year to expect the unexpected and make peace with it. This remembrance is not at all what I’d planned but there you go. Merlin lives on and so do I. Thank you for being a part of the journey.

Instead of clogging this space with photos I made an album FOREVER MERLIN: TIMELESS WISDOM of a few highlights of Merlin’s work and life over the past couple years, his final days and funeral. It’s big and yet only a tiny drop of his life. He savored every moment and every drop.

 

From Woodstock, a snippet of the lyics. They sum up Merlin’s philosophy and mine, more than ever.

We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it’s the time of man
I don’t know who I am
But you know life is for learning

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Vintage Cat Buttons Are The Cat’s Meow

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It’s your Mancat Monday host Clyde here with an old-fashioned romp from distant cat relatives to wild antique cat buttons. Vintage Cat Buttons Are The Cat’s Meow.

Yes, pop culture kitties go way back to the weird, quirky and meowvelous. Long before Buzzfeed and viral cat videos, we had photos. Not Instagram photos but real ones like this one of my relatives in the U.K.  Poor chap being made to earn his supper but just like me not being cooperative. I will never do tricks and goodness knows I’m never ready and available for my close-up. How do you like my new photo? Layla says I look cute as a button.

Anyway, the photo dates from about the time our featured buttons were created. It just goes to show you feline adoration and feline snubbing is nothing new.

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Can you believe this work of art is a button?

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Layla collects vintage kitty ephemera and has always been obsessed with buttons. They don’t make them like they used to and I wish someone would make updated versions. Collecting antique buttons from Victorian and Edwardian eras to vintage mid century is an affordable way to start a collection. Many cat buttons are under $20 but rare ones can cost hundreds. If you’re interested in buttons, a valuable resource is the National Button Society

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Like to find your own purrfect collectible buttons?  Here are a few resources to purrchase EBay for vintage buttons. If you’re in the mood for shopping bargains EBay Daily Deals is our suggestion.

Please note this website uses affliate links. Should you make a purchase, we would receive a small commission to help pay for our ongoing pricey vet and cat care.

My favorite collectible  isn’t a button but a coin. Imagine how ahead their time they were in 1896! I have no idea what position the cat was running for but I’d vote for him, wouldn’t you?

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I’ve been busy perusing a few new cat books and shared a fun video thingy (on Instagram and Facebook)about the new Cativity book from the Punderful World of Cats illustrator Katie Ruby. I’m supposed to be helping Layla with the endless revisions of our book but that would be far too much work. I’m miffed that she’s actually added more cats and hasn’t added me yet! Don’t worry, I’ll make sure she does or else.

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Success Secrets and Take Your Cat To The Vet Day

Success Secrets and Take Your Cat To The Vet Day. Hello, dearest ones, it’s your neighborhood wise cat, Merlin with thoughts on success and practical wisdom, like taking your cat to the vet. Why we need reminders and holidays, but we do. Check out the resources at CatVets. The American Association of Feline Practitioners.

There’s an old Woody Allen joke about success:

80% of success is showing up.

Truer words were ever spoken and it applies to everything. Every kind of success from being happy, healthy, wealthy or wise. I’ll bump up Woody’s 80% to 90% with a caveat. There is that tiny % of fate mystery, luck or whatever you want to call it that is the wild card. Who knew when I posed for this photo shoot with moolah, it would be one of my last. I can confirm: you can’t take it with you. But you can be smart and take your cat to the vet if you haven’t for a while. Make the effort. Your cat is worth it!

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This quote was also prompted by something my mom, Layla said about the value of just taking action, of showing up. As you may know, we’ve been planning our Black Cats Tell All book for months. Our deadline for story and photo submissions passed recently. There were so many stragglers we had to extend the deadline. A last minute and massive outpouring of interest ensued. Hundreds of photos, millions of messages, complete and incomplete submission forms to sift through, is the reason we haven’t blogged much lately. The dear cat people kept begging for extensions but, sorry the train has left the station. You need to show up. On time. She felt awful closing the door on some awesome cats, but there was no choice. And the thing is whether you want to apply for a job, write a book, follow your dreams or do anything of value, you have to just DO IT!

If your cat thinks a vet visit is no day at the spa and needs to be coaxed into a carrier, here are some tips. And remember,  don’t actually take your cat to the vet today unless it’s an emergency. Just make an appointment!

Love ,

Merlin

 

 

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Cat Guru Merlin Teaches Push Push Tarot

Cat Guru Merlin Teaches Push Push Tarot.

Dearest ones, it’s with a heavy heart at today’s Monday’s With Merlin to announce a cosmic kick in the pants. Just when we thought the tech gods were friendly they  pulled a double whammy crashing our site and everything got restored except today’s mega 1000 word opus on spiritual teachers, life purpose plus my first tarot reading and lesson for Push Push my new feline student, Push Push. Alas, everything in life is an illusion and temporary. I’ll do a shorter revised version and you getextra karmic Brownie points if you share. I’ll include a few of your comments from that post if possible. Many thanks.

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It was never my intention to be a spiritual guide, guru or teacher with devotees and millions of followers like some cats. I’d quoted my reasons from a Taoist verse about success in my previous post, but I’d like to share something more timely from Tao Te Ching. It’s wisdom we can all learn from no matter what loss or troubles plague us. If you’re in a hurry, scroll down to the reading but you know what they say:

When a Student is ready a Teacher appears.

Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu – chapter 64

Peace is easily maintained;
Trouble is easily overcome before it starts.
The brittle is easily shattered;
The small is easily scattered.

Deal with it before it happens.
Set things in order before there is confusion.

A tree as great as a man’s embrace springs from a small shoot;
A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth;
A journey of a thousand miles starts under one’s feet.

He who acts defeats his own purpose;
He who grasps loses.
The sage does no act, and so is not defeated.
He does not grasp and therefore does not lose.

People usually fail when they are on the verge of success.
So give as much care to the end as to the beginning;
Then there will be no failure.

Therefore the sage seeks freedom from desire.
He does not collect precious things.
He learns not to hold on to ideas.
He brings men back to what they have lost.
He helps the ten thousand things find their own nature,
But refrains from action.

My student Push Push is lives in the Bohemian Cat House in Vermont with several felines and two humans of CrazyCatLadyCeramics. She recently expressed her desire to learn more about the tarot as a tool of self-knowledge and wrote to me:

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Dearest Merlin, may I call you Darling?  My tarot question for you is about fame — specifically about a contest I’ve entered to grace the cover of Modern Cat Magazine. Do you think this mature (I am not a kitten anymore) fuller figured lady has a chance? Am I crazy to think I could win? Is my ego clouding my mind? Cats are born indolent pleasure-seekers but I want more. I feel torn between wanting material stuff and a spiritually meaningful life. Will I win and can I use it walk a more spiritual path?  

Dearest Push Push,

My ego is small and have no need of grand titles like Master so you may call me anything you like. Sincerity in any student is all I ask.

Open and follow your heart. Listen to your body and not the mind chatter. The Truth and your True Nature is in the stillness with the center of your purr.

Since cats don’t have opposable thumbs, I ask Layla to shuffle the cards. One of them popped out. It doesn’t happen that open so we take it as a clue to exminine it. It was the two of Pentacles, a  card of the multi-tasker, juggling two balls in the air in an infinity loop.  I have a very modern take on this card given how much busier people are these days. We’re all so plugged in 24/7 doing so much, it’s easy to drop a ball or get off track. My suggestion for you Push Push is to make sure your pawrents aren’t juggling many projects at once. It may also apply to your many questions within questions. The clarity of an answer is dictated by the clarity of the question. Some readers will answer yes or no type uestio I usually don’t.

Life is never purely black or white but with infinite nuances. Broader questions cast a wider net of possibilities. The most expansive and useful uestion for anyone to ask is : What do I need to know right now? Or: What do I need to know about X to achieve Y?

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Now to what looks like a very positive reading. If one was a novice, it would look like a slamdunk for winning the contest but you asked several questions.

In the PAST the six of Pentacles, a generous, material gift of money or charitable donation. The card is about the ability to acknowledge and receive abundance. If we need more money it prompts us to explore sources expected and unexpected. For those who want to give but feel poor, it shows abundance takes many forms. Even when less than flush, we can give time,  skills, smiles and share on social media (like this post).

The Present is the ultimate card of fate and destiny The Wheel of Fortune. What better card for a question on winning contests?  The wheel is forever turning. Around and around she goes, where she stops nobody knows. It’s up to lady luck and your karma. A big weight can be lifted from your furry shoulders dear one, because it’s out of your hands. Relax, what’s yours cannot be denied. I will add, dearest Push Push you are ageless and not fat. It’s your duty to inspire all women to embrace the fur they’re in.

The Future is the classic card of victory after much hard work and struggle to triumph. The question is what will the victory be about? The contest? Tangential fame and opportunities?  bigger following? You’re easily top the 20,000  mark on your Instagram page. On a spiritual level, I see great strides if you stay on track and don’t get distracted by anything or anyone who pulls you down. And as I’ve always said, Carpe Diem, darling.

 

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I don’t wager on horse races or contests but I feel no matter what the outcome, I feel you are a winner. Push Push, I will say, you are an excellent candidate and don’t think winning would go to your pretty head. However, I do see more life lessons ahead regardless of the outcome and hope to be there as your guide or guru. Btw, Guru (Sanskrit: गुरु. IAST: guru) is a Sanskrit term for someone who is a “teacher, guide or master” of certain knowledge.

Dearest reader, may ask for your vote if you feel Push Push deserves to win? It’s a very quick click at her direct profile page where she shares all her nicknames and more!

http://moderncat.com/starcat/entry/push-push-0

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Mondays With Merlin The Cat’s Shocking News

Hello dear ones, are you sitting down? You may want to pause your digital stream for our juicy or Merlin the cat’s shocking news. You may gain a bit of wisdom too, for free.

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If you have pressing questions about your life and would like some answers, I’m doing free numerology or tarot readings for follower/subscribers (only) to celebrate in advance our 5th anniversary at Cat Wisdom 101. Ask your questions in a comment at new version of the post HERE or at our Instagram page only please. If you’d like to know numerology influences for this or next year and are shy about telling us your birthday, email us or DM us and it’ll be our secret. Please do not leave anymore comments at the post. Thanks

It’s a very special day for another Siamese. My dear old friend Nellie is turning 18 and she’s celebrating not her only birthday but our shocking news. We decided a while back to get married! We’re both old and life is short so we thought why not? Why not enjoy a few joys and sunsets together with a like-minded soul? You’ll have to stop by Nellie’s blog Nellie on the Edge to see the pics and details of the nuptials. This is my birthday card to my love. Isn’t she lovely? And she’s Canadian like me.

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It’s Dharma Karma Time.

After growing in wisdom and age, it’s one’s duty or dharma to mentor others. I won’t call myself a guru or feline Zen master but I feel it’s time for me the pass on the timeless wisdom of the ages to another cat.  A student, if you will. There is a young cat named Push Push who does a weekly feature called Ask Push Push on Instagram or Facebook. It was a light bulb moment to realize I could have been doing Ask Merlin for ages.  I believe everything happens for a reason and timing is always purrfect even when it seems anything but.

 That plump tabby Push Push reminds me those odalisques languidly lying on a divan eating bon bons. Make no mistake, she is a smart cookie and answers 3 questions from the silly to the profound. Like all seekers, she’s ready to learn more and asked me to take her under my spiritual paw. We’ll be sharing insights of interest to you humans. So start thinking of meaningful questions about anything and everything.

Tarot as Layla has practiced for many moons, is not about fortune-telling but as a sacred tool of self-knowledge. It’s a discipline, a practice which hones our natural intuitive abilities for clarity in a murky situation, remover of doubt and the all too common, second-guessing.

You know when you’re fumbling in the dark looking for a light switch and click, in an instant the room is bright? That’s how it is when you get an aha insight. It’s hard to explain but you know when it happens. You can feel it in your body in a zing of energy.

Self-reflection is what I call the magic mirror and cats are excellent mirrors for humans. We reflect your energy and attempt to diffuse negative energy. If you’re angry and stressed, we’ll do our best calm you down but if it continues indefinately, that’s when we need to get your attention in other ways. We might get sick or pee in your shoe.  The message is about self-reflection. Look at what’s not working and what you and not the cat need to do to change the situation.

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Our card today the High Priestess. It’s commonly used to represent a woman in a tarot reading but we’re not limited to one.  As a Wise Woman Layla resonates with the High Priestess but the card has a broader message to all women seeking happier lives of fulfilment. Out of the 78 cards in a tarot deck, 22 belong to the major arcana and carry more weight. When the High Priestess pops up in your reading, we see it as time to see how you can become more empowered, more you. Women give away their power willingly or unconsciously to the spouses, children, friends, relatives or co-workers. The power gets sucked out drop by drop, over years or in a sudden deluge. It’s the doormat syndrome, the need to please and be nice at any cost. The cost dear ones is way too high.

The High Priestess belongs to no man, no person.

She may be married and adored but she belongs only to herself.  She knows who she is at any moment and any in mood. She understands the lunar shifts, the balance between light and dark and accepts the natural cycles. She’s a truth teller and will yank the veil off your deepest mysteries if you’re ready. She is a very powerful woman who holds wisdom literally in her hands. In the case of this card, the Torah,  the entire body of Jewish law and wisdom. For a tarot reader, the entire deck holds the possibility of illumination for the seeker. My job, or Layla’s job is to connect the dots, reflect the magic mirror back to the person. What you see or do is up to you. You can open up a can of tuna, but you can’t force a cat to eat it.

Cats are either the High Priestess or the male equivalent, the Magician. I believe it’s one of the reasons women cat lovers adore their cats. They love how quietly powerful and autonomous we are, because we know we are enough, just as we are, and so are you.

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Okay,  what is uppermost on your mind? And is this all too woo woo for you? Inquiring cats wanna know. P.S. there is no need to buy me a wedding present. I have everything I need. Donations to our upcoming non-profit Kickstarter for black cats would be welcome. Blog posts will be less frequent until our launch date in 10 days!

Love, always,

Merlin, The Magician

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Mondays With Merlin: My Secret to Living The Dream

 

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So you want to know my secret to living the dream? You’ve come to the right place if you like the wit and wisdom of Merlin, yours truly, a world’s oldest cat. Mind you, not quite the oldest. That honor goes to a Mancat named Corduroy who is 26. I am a mere kitten by comparison as I inch closer to the big 21. Yes, the birthday of birthdays is on Oct. 2 and I wish I could whisk all of you away to a tropical island with hammocks and salty, sweet balmy breezes. The truth is: I have never been to the seashore, let alone a tropical island where feeling silky sand between the toes is bliss and not cat litter. An old cat can dream and so can you. Layla is planning a few things for my birthday. Nothing major. I have everything I need. I mean what do you give a cat who is 21? A new catnip toy? I don’t play anymore. I have no complaints. It’s been a hell of a ride. Anyway, it’s more satisfying to give to other cats who really need something or to readers, just because it makes me happy.

But what about you dear reader? What makes you happy? Are there dreams sitting on a shelf collecting dust? Have you given up or think it’s too late to lasso that dream? I’ll tell you, as long as you’re breathing, it’s never too late. We live in a time of extraordinary possibility. Look at the words on your screen. How do you think they landed there? A hundred, no thirty years ago you would have thought it magic to have words and images pop up and move by a flick of your finger. Anything you could possibly want to know, all the tools and resources needed to realize your dreams are a click away. Be curious as a cat at a mouse hole. Be just as focused and relentless about catching it, and you will.

That said, the crazy speed of life can blur your vision. How can you go after your dream when there isn’t time to figure out exactly your dream looks like now. Not the dream of three or thirty years ago. Again, be like a cat and take a catnap. Curl up on the softest bed. Wriggle your toes.  Unhunch those shoulders.  Unplug. Pull the shades down. Notice your breathing, nice and slow in your belly.  Visit your dream by simply asking; What do you really, really want? What does it look like, sound like, taste like? Sniff and explore every crevice.  Don’t be afraid to feel it in every pore. You’ll know you’re on to something when an exciting energy burbles up, up, up and whoosh into a purr. Like a cat, you’ll have a good stretch after and pad over to the kitchen for a drink of water. And you dear one will make notes of your vision, of steps, people to contact, things to research with a flick of your finger.  Yes, you can revisit your dream and build from there, unless you’re already living the dream. If so, carry on.

There you have it. Happy dream napping and mapping. I’ll see you next week for a very special Mondays with Merlin. It may be my favorite one ever.

I’ll let you in on a very old secret… A long time ago, say twenty, I went to live with my mom Layla on happiest Gotcha Day ever. Not only did I get out of a horrible shelter cage and into a duplex apartment but it was my birthday. For real. It was the beginning of a magical life with Layla. She was single then and feeling sad. Her dad had died five months earlier and her boyfriend dumped her. Then she met her someone very special who broke her heart all over again. That was a month before I arrived with my sister Coco and it was clear from day one I was no ordinary cat. I was her soulmate cat. And our lives entwined in ways she could never have imagined.  I was thrilled to have a job, a purpose. I could mend hearts, be a healer for others and major domo of her business. I’d do Reiki on Layla’s clients, assist her students and act as doorman escorting everyone in and out. Life unfolded beautifully and within a few months Layla said to someone, ” I love him so much, I don’t know what would happen if Merlin should die.”
I shot her one of my looks. Yes, with my huge blue eyes, I was devastatingly handsome. Die? I was barely two! Not long after she confided to another friend, “When Merlin goes, it’ll be the end of me.” She said it every so often to other people through the years.  You might think it morbid or overly attached but she unconsciously knew when I go, it will be the end of her.  Not death or pining over my grave forever but the end of an old life and a new purpose for her.  So here we are. I’m turning 21 and in failing health. To be frank, I could keel over any day.  I know I’ve been saying that for some time but I’m not kidding. Layla will finally have to face the “When Merlin goes, it’ll be the end of me” music. It will be the end. The end of a beautiful 20-year relationship in this mortal coil. I taught her so much over the years and I must confess, I did a pretty good job as creative muse and soulmate cat. Layla has studied far and wide with many teachers on many subjects. She’s a teacher’s teacher who has a passion for learning, exploring.and sharing. Once I’m gone, it means my job is done, and I’m so happy she’s found her new purpose. She couldn’t have done it with me. It’s not quite a new purpose but a synthesis of everything she loves and knows how to do, but she wasn’t ready until now. Ironically, the new thing that will give her much joy will be an intense time of work while she is grieving. So she’ll have to be careful or it will be the end of her. Ha. Darn, it looks like going to have to keep on eye on her from the grave. Tough job but someone’s gotta do it.

All will be revealed in due course, and I hope your week is dreamy.

Love,

Merlin

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ManCat Monday Life Lessons Betwixt & Between

The winds of change blasted in this weekend bringing more snow and fog. But it is spring so how long can it last, right? Nothing stopped Odin in his quest to sop up life lessons. He is sharing two lessons appropriate for Monday. Do with them what you will. The other cats were going to participate but were shall we say, betwixt & between.

On a happy note, we’re pleased to announce the winner of our Ripleywear custom made collar and bow tie is Maggie!

What color is your mood today?

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Monday quotes cats

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Answer Your Cat’s Question Day Goes International

[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s Answer Your Cats Question Day. Really and my #cats did a Q. & A.. What would your cat ask? @catwisdom101″ quote=”It’s Answer Your Cats Question Day. Really and my #cats did a Q. & A.. What would your cat ask? @catwisdom101″ theme=”style4″] Answer Your Cat’s Question Day is in Q. A. format with our cats.

The first answer is: Yes, there is a real holiday called National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day. And yes, the world is officially cat crazy. So crazy the holiday has gone international.

Our cats have reluctantly agreed to ask one question each. I have agreed against my better judgement to answer them honestly. Our foster girl Nou Nou is participating for the first time.

Merlin: What is the purpose of life?

Answer: Finding and sharing joy.

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Odin: Why can’t I have opposable thumbs?

Answer: You weren’t born that way. Perhaps in your next life.

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Domino: When is dinner?

Answer: When the sun goes down.

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Nou Nou: Why can’t all cats in shelters find homes?

Answer: Fate, karma, human ignorance and selfishness.

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May all your cats’ questions be answered with the love and the reverence they deserve. Okay, and humor because as far as cats are concerned the joke is on us. Also they mentioned they want their real Divine status back with back pay and no cheap, rhinestone tiaras thank-you very much.

Not All Cats Who Wander Are Lost

In honor of Merlin Week to celebrate his milestone birthday, we’re sharing a bit of today’s weekly photo quote newsletter here. Every Friday we post an exclusive Cat Wisdom content for subscribers only and not seen here. This week, Merlin is the star so we had to share. If you like it, don’t miss out. Check out the white box in the footer to subscribe to our Photo Quote Newsletter.
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He still wanders about blind (literally but not metaphorically) on our property with me in tow. The other day, I was sitting on the grass watching him on a glorious Indian Summer day when an important call came in. It distracted me and I took my eyes off Merlin. When I glanced up again, he was gone. He marches to the beat of another drummer now and no longer responds to his name (no, he’s not deaf but he is stubborn).

Frantic, I comb the grounds. There are a million places to hide and a long driveway leads to a fairly busy road. Finally, I spot him in the distance by our driveway entrance. How on earth did get so far so fast? He’s still on his journey and some hidden destiny drives him as it does all of us. We may not know the road ahead but an inner faith propels us to our life purpose. Even when it’s dark or difficult. Even when we feel rudderless, broken and lost.

Seeing Merlin in the distance snapped on a light bulb moment. He wasn’t afraid and he wasn’t lost. My fear wasn’t his fear. He was moving forward and that’s the message. No matter what: if we keep moving forward, step by step we’ll get where we need to go. If one road is closed, try another, keep wandering on your own beautiful journey.

The gold is there and sometimes it’s shiny and glitter bright but sometimes it’s hidden deep within our roots. I’ve read this Tolkien poem from The Lord of The Rings many times but it was only when I wrote the words next to Merlin’s image, that the real meaning emerged. Your interpretation might be entirely different to suit your journey. Keep wandering. Stay as curious as a cat.

Thank-you for letting us share our journey with you thus far.

Peace, love and golden purrs,

Layla and Merlin

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Mancat Monday Life Secrets

It’s another Monday or as our friend Easy in France calls Moanday. Domino is writing off the week.

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We are frankly getting impatient with the weather roller coaster. It’s one day warmish, the next day blustery. Odin says we must find our inner balance in order to find harmony. He can’t sing very well so Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder will move you into a (we hope) a happy new week!

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