She’s already lost at least two of her nine lives, but this gutsy Athenian stray cat is looking forward to a long and happy future with her adopter.
In the years that we have known her, Maya has lost at least two of her lives – and a couple of missing toes on her front paw point to a previous loss before we met her. Now, comfortably ensconced at Nine Lives volunteer and foster mum Sydney’s home, she is looking forward to one long, safe and very happy life ahead.
Rewind 3 years, when a student at Athens University emailed us about a colony of more than 20 unsterilised cats on campus. Thanks to a generous grant from Greek Animal Rescue, we started a TNR (trap, neuter, return) and veterinary care programme right away.
By the next summer, some of the cats had moved on, and with no new kittens being born, the colony had stabilised at 13 cats, which we had grown to know and love – and worry for if we didn’t find them. One hot week in July, Maya didn’t show up for meals. We started searching, and soon heard faint meows. We traced them to a high-walled courtyard in a construction site on the campus, closed up for summer, with Maya stuck inside with no water, shade or food. We rushed home for a trap and a length of rope, which we wound around the handles, baited the trap with sardines, and lowered it into the courtyard. On the first attempt, it snapped shut on the way down, but second time lucky, famished Maya hurried in, the trap closed, and we hauled her up to safety (and a very long drink of water).
By Easter 2014, the cat colony had decreased again, the cats dispersing as work continued apace on the construction site, and with all the foliage around being cut back, the cats lost their hiding places. Just 8 cats were regulars for meal-times, among them Maya. Until, again, one day she wasn’t there. After calling and searching, she appeared slowly, one side of her face obliterated with blood and pus. It seems it was a burst abscess from a scratch or bite. Our vets immediately anaesthetised her to clean the wound, and the dead skin just peeled away, leaving her cheek bare to the bone. It was touch and go whether she would make it. But thanks to the care and dedication of the vets, and her own resilience, Maya made an astonishing recovery – within 21 days, she was ready to move into her foster home, with the raw expanse of wound reduced to little more than a red dot. Having been terrified the first days (not surprising, considering she’s lived on the streets all her life), she soon started purring, kneading and rubbing noses!
We are so thrilled that she has found her forever home with Sydney (our superstar cat-fosterer and physiotherapist), knowing that she could not be in better hands. Finally, after years of stress and struggle for survival, she can rest her weary paws and enjoy a lifetime of love and care.