MEET Merlin, the loudest purring cat in the world.
At peaks of 98 decibels, the black and white moggy is almost as loud as the London Underground or a hand drill and deaf-initely a record breaker.
The loud purr ball, a 12-year-old rescue cat, purrs constantly.
He purrs when he wakes up. He purrs when he's hungry. And he purrs when he plays with Yorkshire terriers Bobbie and Muppet.
But what really gets Merlin going is lots of fuss.
"Because of what I do," says owner Tracy Westwood, "people say I bewitched it. It's a witch's cat. But that's just what Merlin does. He purrs really loudly."
Mrs Westwood, a tarot card reader and candle magic practitioner, from Forest Road in Torquay, rescued Merlin when he was just a kitten from an animal rescue centre in Kingskerswell.
She said: "It's always purred very loudly. I guess I'm used to it now. But when I'm on the phone I often have people asking me what on earth is the noise in the background. It's just Merlin the cat."
Mrs Westwood, 47, mother of Lucy, 28, and Alice, 19, decided to look into it when she came across the Guinness Book of World Records and saw a mention of Smokey, the current record holder who was officially recognised as the loudest purring domestic cat on record in 2011.
Smokey is said to purr at 67.67dB which is about as loud as a classroom full of students engaged in a conversation.
Mrs Westwood said: "We've measured Merlin at peaks of 100dB. We know he is much louder than that."
Intrigued by the loud purring, the Herald Express visited Merlin at its Torquay home armed with our trusted smartphone and two new decibel reader apps.
Merlin started purring like a diesel engine as soon as we turned up.
Once he got used to our presence, we managed to record his purring at 75dB on average with peaks reaching earsplitting 95dB and 98dB.
Online decibel comparison charts, reveal that noise levels of 90 to 95dB can result in hearing loss after prolonged exposure.
One chart puts the London Underground at 95dB but Merlin was recorded purring at 98dB which is as loud as a hand drill.
Mrs Westwood, who is hoping to have Merlin officially validated as the loudest puss around, said: "My oldest dog is completely deaf. Maybe Merlin's purred him to deaf."
To hear Merlin and his loud purring watch our video at thisissouthdevon.co.uk
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