Time to check in with the residents here at Casa Susana - the furry ones (excluding Miguel)...
Today will be Maya's turn.
The 'cooler' weather has turned Maya back into a couch potato rather than a floor potato. Maya has lots of thick fur, so I think the very hot summer months took their toll on her - all she wanted to do inside the house was lie on the floor where she could catch a floor breeze.
What is a floor breeze? It's the gust of wind that comes under the doors because the doors don't quite fit properly and there is no weather-stripping. In the winter months when we have stronger winds, the floor breeze actually rises and becomes a room breeze.
During the summer months, Maya's favorite place to lay was on the floor at Miguel's feet, where Loco also likes to lay. It is about 6 feet from the front door, and in the direct line of the floor breeze.
Now that it's cooler Maya is reclaiming the little red fleece blanket in the corner of the sectional couch. She has to share that space with Miguel's feet, and occasionally she grabs hold of his feet and gives them a little chomp.
Maya likes to sleep on her back, with her paws folded over her chest. She is an alert cat, so any noise causes her to lift her head and look around. The rest of her body is still reclined, she looks quite comical (sorry, no photo - the camera isn't here, but one day I will get a picture of this pose). Sometimes she'll sit up on her hind legs, like a prairie dog, with her front paws hanging at her sides, and her head turning this way and that in order to see what is going on. There must be some meerkat genes in her DNA makeup.
Maya is much bigger and heavier than any of the other cats, which automatically gives her power in the pecking order. Maya likes to play with Smokey, they chase each other around and play hide-and-seek. Sometimes Maya plays too rough and grabs Smokey by the scruff of her neck, causing Smokey to cry and roll around to get away.
Maya occasionally tries to play with Minina and Luna. Minina is scared of Maya because Maya usually attacks her and hurts her, so Minina is inclined to cry with the slightest touch and run off. Luna just plain doesn't like any other cats, but occasionally she will show a bit of inclination to play, although it doesn't last long.
Maya reminds me of a dominatrix, as she expects to be greeted by the other cats when she enters the room. She will approach either Minina or Smokey and stand there while they lick her head, or sniff her body. Once they have bowed to her power, she walks away. Although I can't understand cat behavior like a cat would, if I put a human interpretation on it, she was showing the other girls in the clan who is boss, and they in turn, showed submission to the supreme queen. So although Maya is the second youngest, she is the alpha cat if we don't include Luna.
With the return of the cooler weather Maya has also reverted to her baby behavior of kneading the pillow behind me as she buries her head into the crook of my arm. It has to be my right arm, apparently my left arm doesn't smell the same. When Maya was a baby it was easy to cradle her as she snuggled, but now she is the size of a turkey and is a heavyweight on my stomach - I lay her beside me when she wants to do her kneading thing.
Maya has some strange sleeping preferences. She loves to sleep on the small bar at the top of the second-level stairs, hanging her head over the edge to see what is going on below. Sometimes she sleeps in the bathroom sink, or the sink out on the back terrace. She loves to play with toes when we're in the tub - she has no fear of water and likes to go toe-fishing.
Maya, despite her size, has a sweet little voice. It's deceiving, she sounds innnocent, yet she can be mean towards the other cats when she wants to be.
I think Smokey has been good for Maya, because now that she has someone to play with, she has lost some weight and seems more active. Maya also plays with Loco - Maya is really the only cat that Loco will allow to snuggle with him. When we are eating breakfast, Loco will be under our stools, and Maya will be right there beside him. Both of them cuddle on the floor, and at the moment Loco is on the bench looking out the front window, and Maya has gone over to lie with him. Loco showed extreme interest in Maya from the day we found her across the road, and she has been his special cat ever since.
Maya doesn't strike me as one of the brighter cats, in fact sometimes when she's lying out on the back terrace and all the others have scooted in, she just sits and looks at me as if to say "is there something I need to know about?". But she has learned a bad trick from watching Luna, so she's not that dumb. Luna picks at the screen window in the kitchen when she wants in, and now Maya is doing the same. Maya used to jump and hang off the back screen door, but Miguel fixed that by putting a piece of screen sheet metal behind the actual screen, so there is nothing to hold onto. So now she resorts to the kitchen screen.
Maya was slow to learn about catching bugs and lizards, but now she's the one who gets them first. She's fast, and once she has something in her mouth, nothing you do will get it out. Since I can't bear to see anything suffer, I have to leave the scene of the crime and let nature take its course.
A few months ago Maya developed a passion for tomatoes, and would take them every chance she got. We got smart and put them in the microwave, and after several months I thought Maya had forgotten about tomatoes. But the other day I went to the store and bought two tomatoes. I placed them near the sink, ready to be washed, and went into the living room for something. I was gone about 2 minutes, but when I got back, there was one of my tomatoes lying half-eaten on the floor. Maya has a nose for tomatoes, obviously - she was on it in a flash. I'm not sure Maya would rather have a tomato over canned cat food, but I bet the tomato is a close second.