Sunday, January 10, 2010

My cat Maya

I got Maya as a three-month kitten about 13 months ago. I did it all by myself.

When we got Lolly, some years back, I felt a really strong bond with her, but so did my husband, and since he was out of work and had never had a tiny kitten before, I let him have her. Which doesn't mean that she and I don't cuddle a lot; it just means she's Daddy's girl.

(Are people with children like this, I wonder, trying to win over this or that kid?)

Some time later, we adopted a pair of sister cats about 11 years old, Jaime and Samantha. This temporarily brought our cat population up to its highest level, five. Jaime was an exquisite calico (I said she looked like Ida Lupino, and when Barry saw her in an old movie, he absolutely agreed), and loved the humans, but hated and hissed at all other cats, including her sister. It was clear that Jaime needed to be an only cat, and we posted her gorgeous puss on Petfinder, and found her a nice home in New Jersey.

Samantha was a very skittish, slightly long-haired torbie, and did a lot of hiding. When she stopped hiding, she started taking to me. I had renamed her Tiggy because she was one, and it turned into a great love affair. She used to give me these melting looks and walk across Barry's lap to get to me. After a few years, she got sick and died. We cried so hard that the vet cried, too.

So a few months after that, I was walking past a vet's window, and there were two little black kittens in a cage, and I went in. The woman behind the desk said that they were a boy and a girl, but they all liked the girl better. So I held the girl and took her home and named her Maya.

Barry held back a lot to let me be with Maya, and it was enough to get her pretty solidly on the way to being Mommy's Girl, but after a while, he couldn't resist, and started to play with her. We have very different styles with cats: he's a player and I'm a petter.

Lolly is not liking Maya who is bigger than she is and who is so obviously adored by Mommy. But Lolly will always make out OK because we both love her so much. And Xena mostly sits it out. She requires very little fuss.

But Maya seems to have turned a corner: she's sleeping right next to me. She had been sleeping at my feet for months, occasionally over the covers and between my legs or feet. But Barry recently saw her sleeping next to me, and I saw it when I woke up this morning. It makes me very happy. I know I sound like a crazy cat lady, but Maya is a special friend to me. she sits in my lap when I watch TV and sits outside the door when I'm in the bathroom and races me to the kitchen so I'll pick her up. She is velvety soft and has a bit of a pot belly, looking much like a slightly smaller version of Kit-Kat, the cat Barry had when we met. I think that's why he suddenly started liking her: as she got older, she looked more and more like Kitty.

Maybe it's because I didn't have children that I like having a community of cats in the house, though three is a little much in a one-bedroom apartment. (We each had one to start out with.) They're loving and have interesting interactions and sometimes are just so funny.

Maya has two favorite toys. One is a tiny stuffed bear we call "Little Bear," who sometimes shows up in our bed at bedtime. Maya also loves ice cubes, and runs to the kitchen every time Barry fixes himself a soda. She likes to bat it around, and sometimes picks it up in her mouth and carries it from the kitchen to the living room, which is really cute. So one night, Barry calls me into the bedroom, where I see a wet spot on the comforter. I sniff it, and start laughing. I said, "It's her ice cube," and we both realized that Maya had figured if she could bring one toy to bed, why not the other? We now close the bedroom door when she has an ice cube. I don't think I could have gotten through the past year without her. She is such a darling cat.

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