Merlin, who belongs to the Napoleon breed of cats (a rare blend of Munchkin and a Persian), has wowed Twitter and Instagram audiences with his peculiar beauty. Measuring just the size of a water-bottle, an abundance of fluffy dark grey fur gives Merlin the appearance of a deluxe hand muff. But his most striking features are his cloudy-blue eyes.
Merlin was collected from the Lynchburg Humane Society in 2017 by Nathanial and Elliot Green, who were in the market for a Siamese kitten but found that none were available.
“The lady who had shown us around eventually noticed us indecisively meandering,” Elliot told Bored Panda. “She stopped to tell us that she had a favourite, but that he had some issues and was sick.
“When I was first told that he was blind, I was a bit worried. As a full-time student also working two jobs, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to provide Merlin with the attention he needed.
"As soon as I got to hold him, I think it was pretty obvious that he was perfect.”
They found that Merlin was an affectionate and well-behaved cat. He’s bold, too, since lacking the vision to see the endless obstacles and challenges with which the natural and built environments constantly threaten us, he knows no fear.
But there has been another happy side-effect of his unique configuration: his beauty has won him over 40,000 Instagram followers almost by accident.
“Honestly, Elliot was proud of the way his apartment looked at the time and thought Merlin was a good subject to help show it off,” says Nathanial.
It’s not all good news, however. Merlin’s condition has made him vulnerable to bullying by other cats.
And there is also a concern that Merlin’s fame and glamour could encourage breeders to develop more of his kind: the Napoleon. Cat charity International Cat Care are not alone in their understanding that breeding ‘designer’ flat-faced moggies like the Napoleon is not a humane practice:
“The multiple problems that arise from breeding flat-faced cats means that we are definitely harming the cat by choosing to breed them in this way,” the ICC website states, “and International Cat Care believes breed standards should be changed so that no cat should suffer as a result of conforming to human-imposed ideals.
“Combining this with short legs produces a poor creature which cannot have a normal cat existence. We should not be breeding these cats.”