It Takes a Village: Merlin’s Story

Merlin. A name of Arthurian legend.
A name fit for a fighter. This is Merlin’s story.

Roughly two months ago, the GTHS received a call about a tiny single kitten that urgently needed help. He was only a couple days old, with his eyes still closed, and subsequently rushed into the care of one of our experienced foster volunteers, Karen Milloy. Of course, this little baby is the kitten who would become Merlin, and as much as this is Merlin’s story…this is also Karen’s story. 

Merlin, a couple days old – Photo Credit: Karen Milloy

Karen is a tenacious animal welfare advocate, creative baker, true animal lover and such an inspirational and dedicated foster cat mama. She has a heart of gold, a heart that the GTHS is lucky to have behind our mission! Karen began fostering with the GTHS in 2016 and since then has loved and taken care of 98 cats and kittens! Her current fostering lifetime total is 611 cats and kittens! 

Merlin 3 weeks old – Photo Credit: Karen Milloy

Merlin was a single bottle baby meaning he needed to be fed from a bottle since he did not have a mama cat to nurse from. Kittens under 4 weeks of age cannot survive without their mama and need to be fed every couple of hours. They also need to be stimulated to go to the bathroom like a mama cat would. Bringing home bottle baby kittens is like bringing home a newborn. Bottle baby kittens require around the clock care so that they can have the opportunity to thrive and survive. They are so much work but they are so special and so loved. The individuals who take on these “mama cat” roles are legends in their own right! Most every kitten that passes through the doors of GTHS also passes through the doors of a foster family’s home. It takes an extraordinary individual to love, care for an animal and give them a piece of their heart until they go to their forever family. We are so thankful for all of our foster families as they change the lives of kittens like Merlin. 

In the wonderful words of Karen herself, here is Merlin’s legendary story:

“Merlin does have a rather magical story…Found outside during our sweltering hot summer, he was the only one of his five siblings to survive. Crying pitifully, and only four days old the poor little baby managed to attract enough attention to be rescued. This wonderful couple called around receiving successive “no” answers until they called the Georgian Triangle Humane Society. They were relieved to hear them say, “Call Karen, she will probably take a bottle baby.” Forty minutes later the lovely couple arrived at my front porch. Merlin was a tiny waif of a kitten. But supplemental bottle feeding and a successful introduction to my existing kitty mom gave him the chance to succeed. Merlin thrived but that was not the end. One afternoon some local children knocked on my door with a gift of KMR (kitten meal replacement – that liquid gold that all bottle feeders need desperately during kitten season). They were thrilled to be able to enjoy all the kittens on the front porch. Many more kitten visits followed and little Merlin found his way into the heart of a special little girl. With mom and dad’s permission, she gathered up all of her birthday money to adopt Merlin. Merlin has since had a daily visitor to remind him that he will never be alone or unloved again. Merlin will go home with the little girl who has spent every day for a month visiting and loving this kitty as he grew. They say it takes a village to raise a child…well, it takes care, kindness, cooperation, dedication and love to save the life of a baby animal. Yes. A village of foster parents, rescuers, vet and loving adopters.”

Follow KAREN’S KITTENS for more of Karen’s fostering adventures!

Photo Credit: Karen Milloy

Stay informed on GTHS events, initiatives and programs. Learn how the GTHS team is serving the pets and people of the South Georgian Bay Area. Read heart-warming Happy Tails about GTHS Alumni. See a lot of really cute pictures of dogs and cats!