When Erin Merryn first met her cat Bailey, she could never have guessed just how big a part the ginger tomcat would play in her life. In fact, the pair are still best buds more than a decade on. But the human-feline relationship took on a whole new dimension when Erin welcomed her newborn daughter into the household.
Erin, who lives in Elgin, Illinois, began her friendship with her cat 13 years ago. It was then that she was away from home as a student at college; Bailey, by contrast, was a little kitten in desperate need of a home. And when the duo’s paths finally crossed, it marked the start of a long and loving relationship.
Upon meeting Erin, Bailey was seemingly so bowled over by the student that he jumped into her arms. Erin, in turn, secretly brought the kitten back to her eighth-floor dorm room; she took a risk in doing so, however, because she wasn’t supposed to have pets there.
In August 2018 Erin opened up about her relationship with Bailey to website Love Meow. “I was attached immediately to [Bailey],” she said. “And [I] decided that I would take a risk and try hiding [the] kitten in my college dorm, where animals are obviously not allowed.”
However, just one week after Erin had taken Bailey in, the kitten was discovered by those running the dorms. Erin was then given 48 hours to find the feline an alternative home; at first, though, she was stumped as to where Bailey would ultimately go.
But despite the fact that her options were slim, Erin did all she could to find Bailey somewhere new to live. And, eventually, she found an elderly woman who agreed to take the kitten in – even if handing Bailey over to the stranger was not going to be easy.
Revealing her reaction to saying goodbye to Bailey, Erin told Love Meow, “I cried almost the entire four hours back to college. When my dad called and heard me crying, he said, ‘Erin, there will always be other kittens out there.’”
But deep down, Erin knew that there wasn’t another kitten like Bailey. And the student told her dad as such, saying, “[Bailey] is one of a kind, and you will never find another with a personality like his.” Little did the cat-lover know, though, that her link to the ginger tom was far from severed entirely.
You see, as Bailey and the elderly woman’s cat failed to find common ground, the kitten found himself once again in need of a home. So, given that it was winter break at the time, Erin volunteered to take the little cat back to her parents’ home in the hope that they would fall as far in love with him as she was.
And, sure enough, Erin’s mom soon agreed to keep Bailey on a more permanent basis. “I plotted for a month to convince my parents to let me keep him. Mom finally gave in. Dad never said yes, but I won and got my way,” Erin later explained to Love Meow.
After the cat-lover finished college and settled down in Illinois, however, Bailey went to live with her. Then, in 2014 the pair were joined by Erin’s newborn daughter Abby. But given that the cat had always been the center of attention, the mom was unsure how he would react to the new arrival.
In the end, though, Erin’s worries about how Bailey and Abby would get on soon turned out to be unfounded. “It was love at first sight [for Bailey],” Erin later revealed to Love Meow. “I captured some darling photos of [Abby] as a newborn with him.”
In fact, Bailey and Abby soon grew inseparable, and the cat could often be found beside the infant watching over her like a guardian angel. Even when Abby started crawling, the ginger tom stuck with her; and he was also there to witness the little girl speaking her first ever word.
And Erin would give further insights into Bailey’s behavior to Love Meow, saying, “He is attention hungry and will follow us from room to room. He never wants to be left alone. If we are in the kitchen, he is. If we are in the bathroom, he follows.” But she wouldn’t have had things any other way.
Then, when Abby was a little older, she picked up a book and decided to read it to Bailey. And, funnily enough, the cat seemed enthralled by the tot’s storytelling abilities. As a result, Abby began reading to the animal on a regular basis, and he soon became her number-one listener.
What’s more, Erin found the bond between her daughter and the feline so endearing that she decided to share it with the world on social media. Now, then, she runs Facebook and Instagram accounts for the animal – both under the handle of “Bailey No Ordinary Cat.”
And in August 2018 Erin shared one of her most popular posts to date. Like many of her updates, the video starred Bailey and Abby; the moment this particular piece of footage captures, however, is truly adorable. In the clip, the now four-year-old little girl serenades the cat with her own take on the song “You Are My Sunshine.”
In the caption that accompanies the sweet video on Instagram, Erin also wrote, “In case you need a little sunshine in your life today.” There was a caveat, though, as she added, “WARNING! Your heart might melt.” And the mom arguably had good reason to issue such a caution.
At the time of writing, Erin’s video of Abby singing to Bailey has been viewed an impressive 791,000 times on Facebook. And judging by the comments the footage attracted, people couldn’t get enough of the evident love between Abby and her feline brother.
However, Abby and Bailey’s biggest fan remains their shared mom. And to make their story even more adorable, in 2016 the pair were joined by another sibling, Erin’s second daughter Hannah. Being the perfect big brother that he is, though, Bailey has taken to the younger girl too.