Thank you all for your kind words. Ten days on, and I am still distraught.
It was NOT my beautiful boys time, and I shall forever HATE the dog that so cruelly attacked him. It seems that although the dog came through the fence (chewed through it!) and the owners were aware it had previously escaped, there is no current law to deal with this situation.
One of my colleagues is now looking at the 1871 Dogs Act, as they think there may be something there they can use.
The vet has sent me a lovely card - They too, are heartbroken. Everyone who met Merlin was touched by his soul. He was such a sweet boy, not a nasty hair on his body. Yes - If another cat entered his turf, then he saw it off (Mostly by screaming for me to chase it away, which I did...) with only a few real cat-fights over the years.
The hardest part is people telling me Merlin had a good innings at 17. They don't understand that he was fit and well, and it was not the way he should have left this life. Had he been infirm, struggling, suffering, in pain, he would have let me know it was his time, and I would have been there with him as he passed to the Rainbow Bridge. We did not get that chance.
I would trade my life right now if it would give me one last day with him, to let him go peacefully and not under these horrific circumstances.
Some people are telling me to get another cat to fill the void. Maybe in time, but for now, I need to grieve for my baby and repair my shattered heart.
I have created a Memorial to my gorgeous boy on Gone Too Soon.... http://www.gonetoosoon.org/memorials/pe ... in-donegan
I love you all as family, and please, please, take an extra check of your fencing before bed tonight, to know nothing can get into your furbaby's territory.