MorpheusJul 11, 2023
Not from the underworld, and sort of from The Matrix.
When we first got Morpheus and his brother, they were called (I think, I tried to erase it from my mind) Blackie and Boots. The first thing we did was ask them if they liked their names. Both of them were like, “not really”. So we asked what they would like to be called, They didn’t have a clue and asked for suggestions.
We had been rewatching The Matrix, and after observing the cats for a couple of days, we suggested Morpheus and Lynkx (after Link, the loyal Operator on Morpheus’ ship.) The cats thought those were fine names, and took to them right away.
Morpheus totally lived up to his new name. He was handsome, independent, and definitely had his own ideas about what it meant to a)do his job and b)move through the world with grace and passion.
Morpheus was a born leader, and Lynkx was his loyal sidekick. I’m pretty sure Morpheus set the barn rules, which Lynkx would mostly follow.
He also had the most amazing amber eyes.
The amber eyes on display.
Looking at Morpheus and Lynkx, it was at first glance hard to tell they were brothers. Morpheus had short fur, an angular face and amber eyes. Lynkx has long fur, what looks like a more rounded face, and green eyes. Morpheus almost always had his tail in the air. Lynkx kind of dragged his around (another clue from his life as Yang which totally zipped over our heads until we put that puzzle together). However, if you take the fur around Lynkx’s face and brush it back, he has the same angular face, and their eyes, although different colors, are the same shape.
Morpheus liked to survey his domain, and he was an excellent supervisor during chores. He especially enjoyed the manure routine. Horse manure went into one wheelbarrow, got taken out to a large disposal bin, and transferred in. I wish I could have taught him how to hold a manure rake, although I’m pretty sure he would have just blown me a raspberry and told me to hurry up and make sure I did it right.
Do it right.
When the boys moved inside for the winter-before-going-back-to-the-barn which never happened, Morpheus met Tolstoy, one of our house cats. Tolstoy also lived up to his name - he could be very peaceful or a total bully.
Tolstoy decided Morpheus was persona non grata pretty much immediately. He was territorial about the house, although he welcomed Lynkx with open paws. It occurs to me while writing this that there may have been a deeper reason that he wasn’t too fond of Morpheus, other than he was another alpha cat. Tolstoy was the other half of Yin and Yang. Lynkx was Yang reincarnated; Tolstoy was the next life of Yin. Tolstoy did not want to share Lynkx, especially with someone who had an attitude like his (I am the boss).
For a time, they had the house carved up. Tolstoy stayed upstairs; Morpheus spent most of his time in the furnished walkout basement. Occasionally, their paths would cross, sometimes with hissing and spitting, and sometimes they would get along, as evidenced by the picture below. Mostly they avoided one another.
Sharing a plate
It was lonely for Morpheus downstairs. We don’t go down there often, so if he wanted any interaction he had to come up, which we encouraged (lots of frowning from Tolstoy on that one - how DARE we?!).
Things started to get tense between the two boys. Tolstoy began to invade Morpheus’ space. Morpheus spent more and more time outside (although never in the barn - he always came home at night). One day, Morpheus asked to be let outside, and I swear as he went out he said goodbye. I had a feeling we wouldn’t see him again. That night, he disappeared.
An animal really has to want to leave our property to get out. There is a six-foot fence surrounding five acres which is dog- and cat-proof. The only exit is by the front gate. There’s a hole where we can put our hands to move the lever that keeps the gate pinned to the ground when it’s shut. In order to get through it, a cat has to jump up. Morpheus wanted out. We assume that’s how he did it.
For a time, I could feel him about a mile away, living with a colony of feral cats in an old barn. He was happy. He loved the freedom. Then it felt like he had moved in across the road from us, where our neighbors, who have bison, had built a new barn. He was happy there, too. And then his essence faded away. I got the definite feeling he had left his body. The neighbors don’t specifically remember if a black cat came to live with them a few years ago - they have said they tend to lose a lot of cats. There are lots of places around their property for coyotes to build dens and they visit periodically. Morpheus may have just been done. It doesn’t matter. I’m sure he died as he lived; by his own rules.
There’s more to this story - Tolstoy eventually passed away, too, with the promise that he would come back. When I started getting the message that he was returning, he told me exactly where and who to look for, and also that he was bringing a friend. Whaaaat? So I had to look for two cats.
Ellie (dark Tortie) and Jackson (Ginger) being cordial.
Jackson and Ellie did not “know” one another at the animal shelter, but they “know” one another. Jackson is Tolstoy returned. And Ellie? It took me a while to figure it out - she’s Morpheus. Jackson was very clear that he had to bring this friend along, but they aren’t best buds or anything. They are cordial to one another. I think Jackson/Tolstoy had some karma to repair. What better location to do it than right where it all took place, with humans who would understand and go along with the program? My husband and I are both honored to be part of the journey our animals take us on.
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