We want so badly to believe that we are The One.
They don’t make movies with names like The Power Of The Many. But maybe they should.
At Tabby’s Place, there’s a kind of cottage industry around Earning Feline Trust (EFT). Normally-humble humans will gloat gluttonously over their progress with scared cats. People as modest as Moses will wax Muhammad Ali-like over EFT:*
“You know how Sunny hates everyone? SHE LET ME TOUCH HER FACE! I HAVE THE TOUCH! I AM THE TOUCH!”
“Oh, Shifty is challenging for you? That’s a shame. HE HEAD BONKED MY HAND BECAUSE I AM GODLIKE!”
“Did you say Louie was shy? Are you sure about that? Because HE LOVES ME WITH THE HEAT OF TEN THOUSAND SUNS!”
Except that nobody says that last line. EFT + King Louie = a task for no human. No solo human, that is.
You can sing and dance your way through Adoption Room #1; Louie will not give you more than a leery, loris-eyed look of curious terror. If you’re exceptionally lucky, he’ll wail a weak “weeeeeeeeeeee?” (Like most enormous male tabbies, Louie has the voice of a little girl.)
But he will not emerge. He will not be moved. You will not maneuver a micron towards EFT…unless you are not traveling alone.
Bring a buddy of the human variety, and proceed to talk of cabbages and kings and Kardashians and Arby’s. Talk. Just talk. Keep talking. At the dulcet tones of your voices (even if your buddy is Gilbert Gottfried), Louie will launch out, long legs striding towards you with…is that joy?
One human voice, sweet as syrup = terror all around.
Two human voices, sweet or shrieky or singing Sam Smith songs = glory land.
Naturally, this is humbling stuff for EFT egomaniacs like us. We don’t — make that can’t — do anything to earn Louie’s trust. All we can do is talk to another human being. Something about the multitude of voices puts Louie at luscious ease, and he’ll leap from one loquacious lap to the next, purring and “weeeee!”ing and wondering where you’ve been all his life.
Some would say Louie is strange.
I would say he’s one of the great masters of our time.
A standard-issue shy cat like Mona or Zach can convince you that you have the answers, that you are the answer. You alone know the way to EFT.
Louie, on the other hand, reminds us of that more challenging, comforting reality: we need us all.
Loving, and loving well, is never a solo affair. Even when we think we’re doing what we do on our own steam, we stand on the shoulders — bare and furry alike — of those who have loved us well enough to love onward. Better to embrace it, and embrace each other, and change the world that much more colossally together.
But first, come into my office. Louie’s leaning in to hear our two-voice talk.
*And lest you suspect me of snark, let me confess: I’ve done this. I will surely do it again. I have taken terrible selfies to show my epic EFT excellence. No shame in this game, kittens.