One of my favorite felines, Maya Angelou, has come so incredibly far in her quest to find herself. I am a firm believer in the notion that animals have souls, and like Angelou she is a fearsome lioness, a freedom fighter-a survivor.
Born 8 years ago, the last of my longhairs (I kept the entire litter, four cats in all)she was petrified of her own shadow. The runt of the litter, she was always last to get nursed, last to be bathed, pushed aside like so much dander. She immediately found a hidey hole, up in the rafters of our bedroom. Incredibly tiny, I often feared she would fade away. It was because of her frailty that I put off having her fixed- rather than take her to the Humane Society clinic for thirty five dollars, as I did with each and every other cat before-I had her spayed by our family vet, who charged me over four hundred. I know. I know. This made my husband cringe and carry on-one of the reasons Maya hides to begin with. Dwain has a strong and deep voice-he frightens all of our cats; yet Maya would run upstairs and jump to her happy place-not to be seen for days.
We have cared for a myriad of cats over the years. Living out in the country, desperate people have done desperate things, like drop their cats and kittens off at a stranger’s home: but I look at it this way-they were meant to be with me. I have my favorites (current cat population:17)and thirteen of them live outside. They have a really groovy pad under the giant pine out back, and a covered cat home beneath our deck. We feed them, nurse and vaccinate each and every cat, thanks to the generosity and passion of Nobody’s Cat Foundation. They neutered/spayed fifteen cats, giving them vaccinations as well, at no cost to myself. I will be sending them something at Christmas, for as long as they are up and running.
She doesn’t hide any longer. She lives in our bedroom, proud and precious, content in the world she has created. She likes her pillows just so and her catnip must be placed to the right of her toy mouse. I feed her can food once a day, and as long as her needs are met? She purrs at warp volume, she kills me with kitty kisses and blinks her undying affection.
Fresh out of the shower, and feeling a bit more positive, I played with Miss Thang in her sun spot. She has put on weight, and her coat is like mink. And then it all came together in this supernatural way. I could see it in her cat eyes, the strength, courage and love-emanating from a cat who was at one time so depressed she pulled her hair out, in clumps.
WE HAVE BOTH WON OUR BATTLE OVER VICTIMHOOD. WE ARE SURVIVORS. WE ARE LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY BY A GOD WHO SENT HIS ONLY SON TO PAY FOR OUR SINS, SO THAT WE MAY SPEND ETERNITY WITH OUR LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST.
Me and Maya?
We got it licked.