Fresno T.N.R. and Valley Animal Center give Merlin, a majestic and previously homeless black cat, the chance of a lifetime

Jun 10, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Pets

by Alisia Sanchez, VAC Marketing Manager

Valley Animal Center works closely with local animal advocate Brandi Sherman, CEO of Fresno T.N.R., an organization dedicated to the Trap-Neuter-Return of the feral cat population in Fresno County. Dr. Jamie Medina, veterinarian at Valley Animal Center, will spay or neuter feral cats rescued by Sherman. Some weekdays, Dr. Medina can spay or neuter at least one cat and dedicates one Saturday a month to spaying or neutering an average of 25 cats.


In February, Valley Animal Center’s cat care associates asked Sherman if she had in her care cats she deemed friendly and offered her the opportunity to assist in finding them homes. One of those cats is Merlin (animal ID: 26438), a majestic and battered-looking 10-year-old black cat who remains undeniably handsome.

“Merlin may have been injured in the past,” Valley Animal Center Cat Care Specialist Anjanette Mendoza said. “He had an abscess on the left side of his face and cauliflower ears. He also had broken teeth, and recently had them extracted!”

Feline abscesses are common in cats who are feral or homeless, according to Mendoza, as they often encounter physical confrontations with other feral or homeless cats.

“We also found what we can only assume are BB gun pellets stuck under his skin near both shoulders,” Mendoza said. “People who are not fond of cats tend to shoot them with BB guns to harm them. Unfortunately, Merlin was most likely a victim of that.”

Merlin has been in the care of Valley Animal Center since February 28. He is positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, “an immunosuppressive disease that is spread through bite wounds from an infected cat,” Valley Animal Center Veterinarian Dr. Amy Bell said.

Many cats who are FIV-positive face difficulty finding an adopter who will remain committed to their health, as it is important that FIV-positive cats receive exams every six months. Likewise, owners should keep an eye out for any changes in their cat’s behavior and health. For a cat like Merlin, a senior, it’s possible he may have an even harder time finding a home; seniors are also often overlooked.

“Merlin is very talkative and friendly,” Mendoza said. “With the way he looks, you wouldn’t expect him to be nice, but he is the sweetest little baby man in the world! He loves any kind of pets, especially belly rubs! He stretches and purrs the whole time and has been very docile and sweet during all the medical exams he has received in our care.”

The best home for Merlin would be one where he would remain indoors. He loves attention and being around other cats. Mendoza believes he will do well with a kitten. However, because Merlin is FIV-positive, the cats he shares a home with must also be FIV-positive and kept indoors.

“When choosing a cat,” Mendoza said, “I suggest not overlooking a cat who has obviously lived a hard life or that lives with FIV. Merlin is the best example. He is the sweetest guy on the planet and captivates everyone he meets.”

Merlin’s adoption fee is $100 and includes neuter, up to date on vaccines, and microchip ID. Valley Animal Center’s cat adoption center is open Wednesday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Adoptions are available Monday and Tuesday with a completed application, which can be submitted online at

For those unable to adopt but would love to sponsor Merlin’s care for as little as $10 a month, can do so at

Email: info@valleyanimal[dot]org
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | TikTok | YouTube | LinkedIn

Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section & watch for more stories from Valley Animal Center every month, and we would love to have you join our KRL Pets Facebook group.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.