Loyal to One

My aloof and highly mysterious cat Merlin desperately needs a good brushing. But one can hardly see Merlin much less catch him in one’s arms. He hides. He slinks around. He bathes peacefully and rests soundly on the far side of the room (and often behind something for protection). It’s always a celebration of some rare visitation when Merlin saunters into a room. We exclaim, “Look! It’s Merlin! Look everyone!” So mostly, we don’t see Merlin.

Merlin: the cat who fights imaginary enemies, whose anxiety mandates he scurries when human footsteps come anywhere near him. He cowers if cornered. Poor Merlin!

My husband alone somehow earned Merlin’s trust and affection. Late at night (and only if my husband is alone), Merlin arrives to the scene to pace along the rim of the couch where my husband sits. Then, as if abandoning himself to the waves, like a suicide fall, Merlin goes limp to topple into my husband’s lap in a supreme act of surrender. Only then might we brush this adorable and beautiful cat.

This afternoon, while my husband was away, my girls and I attempt a mission to lure Merlin into submission. We must brush that cat! We try to sedate him with catnip, tempt him with cat treats, and trap him in our loving circle in the living room where we sit with brush in hand. Merlin will have none of this. He pauses and eyes us suspiciously. I snap a photo. Then he runs to hide.

Nothing we do can entice him. He knows his true master and where his loyalty lies.

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