May 19, 2000 Friday

Miss Hiss (who has now been officially named Maya) is now coming out of her box at the sight of me! When I settle down in the closet with her, she comes forward with her kneading action and starts to rub against the sides of my legs............................. I just delivered about a 10 minute full body massage- and she showed me how she has mastered the Elevator Butt Maneuver This little girl, this "Mayan Princess" is simply starved for love! If I stop, she mews to keep me rubbing on her, tickling her and playing with her. Anything I am doing with her at this point is being done with the flat of my hand going towards her head. Maybe someday she will stop flinching so much. I just want her to know that hands are *good.* Now that I have rubbed her all over, I can feel these really small mats near her skin mostly on her back legs. I am going to take the brush up in a few minutes and see if I can get her to accept the brush. I am so thrilled with Maya's progress. But I am concerned that she isn't showing any signs of eating on her own? She eats readily if I offer it to her either in my hands or in a syringe, but leave food overnight, she won't even touch it. that is the big puzzle right now. The vet has already called to tell me all blood work is normal, so maybe in time, she will eat.

May 20, 2000 Saturday From Maya's Point of View

Today, Maya's world suddenly opened up. Instead of being restricted to one room and a closet, she finds herself no longer barred at the door. The barricade is down and there are delightful scents coming from the other room. Quickly, she explores and finds an open window bringing in sounds of laughter, and smells of spring. She wants to get out and join the people, but her new person has put up some latticework. The air can get in, but she can't get out. No matter, she continues to explore, her person standing quietly in the corner of the room.

She peeks her head into cupboards and finds to her delight she has 4 shelves she can now sleep on, or jump up on, or hide. The cupboards are empty, but she smells a fruity smell, where the candles were originally stored. Now it is her house, there are dark corners to scootch in and a tunnel leading to more shelves. How fun this is!

She peeks her head around the doorway and she notices her new person is just standing very still watching her. How strange this is to her so she comes out of hiding.

It is then she notices a series of steps leading down to a landing! "Cool" she thinks, "brand new territory and she bounces down the stairs, that is when she sees it- another barricade, this one quite formidable, made of chicken wire and wood.

Outside on the very last step- she sees 8 kittens keeping vigil and watching her closely. "To close for comfort" she thinks, and scampers back up the stairs.

Her new person is sitting in her closet now, just waiting and watching. She wanders in to say hello and gets all these lovely head rubs and pets. The soft voice never stops telling her how beautiful she is..and she preens and prances around her new person. Suddenly, the hand that was giving so much, quit and was replaced with a brush. At first she is hesitant to have something touch her that was not a hand, but this slicker brush felt so good against her body, that she decided to keep trusting the new person, and she rolled on her back with her paws quivering, as the brush started working on the matted hair that was such a nuisance. As she was being brushed, her new person's head was bent over her. As her paws waved in the air, she watched the head come ever closer....and closer...She could feel the breath on her neck, and taking a huge step of trust, she reached up gently with her paw, and touched her new person on the cheek. The brushing suddenly stopped, and the only sound she could hear was her new person's breath and her own loud purr. Very gently, she reached out and batted a nose, and then licked the tip of it! =) She was certainly puzzled when the raindrops fell on her belly. She did not know that the rain could fall inside such a small room. But she did know that she loved this new person, and she hoped that this one would not abandon her too.

*Tonight, I was kissed by a moonbeam, when Maya showed me how much she cares about me, and the feeling is indeed mutual...*

May 21, 2000 Sunday

I was given an idea on the board when I posted that Maya was not yet eating on her own. I was told to lay down a shirt heavy with my scent and put the food on top of it. The idea was brilliant! I laid her dish on a sweatshirt I had worn earlier feeding the critters outside, and she just chowed down! Maya is EATING on her own! Plus she is now coming out of her box when she hears my voice coming up the stairs. You should see those big old eyes peering at me at the top- it's like "Halt! Who goes there? OK, you? I recognize you- YOU can come on in!" LOL

May 22, 2000 Monday Today was a busy one for me. I was training the horses most of the day, so Maya got left to her own devices. Right before bedtime, I went up to say goodnight to her. I think in expanding her world, it collapsed her confidence in where she is. Almost like she had a night to sleep on it, and in her feral state of mind, she doesn't like changes. Change came when she had her litter of kittens, then they vanished. Change came when the human who was watching over her, moved away. Change came when she ended up in a shelter in a cage, and still another change, when she went to live with Jennifer, bonded with Jennifer's cat and the cat died. So I think, she had time to consider all this, and the change has her on edge. She met me at the head of the stairs, her tail straight up, her back arched and her head low eyes glaring. Every single hair on her was standing straight up and she was ready to do battle. I approached her slowly, watching her body language, knowing full well that if she launched herself on me in the narrow staircase, I could easily lose my balance and fall. I was considering my options, when she leaped straight up, hit the ground running and took off into another room. I followed, and she was once again afraid and hesitant. She was darting behind objects, underneath boxes then skid into another room. She slid behind the sofa, jumped over the top of the couch, landed on some stuffed animals and left them scattered haphazardly behind her like the wake of a boat. She darted into her closet and sat there glaring at me, her sides heaving. As I entered her domain, she growled and ducked into her box. I sat down quietly next to her hidey hole and started telling her how really goofy she looked sliding all over the tile floor in her attempt to evade me. I just talked and talked until finally I saw her face peeking out, then ever so slowly, I reached in to pet her. Her motor started, I found her back and started to rub it, and she walked out to give me more access to it. As I was gently scratching her- she suddenly turned her head and growled, hissed, and made a move to bite me. I drew back my hand out of harms way and told her in a scolding manner, that this was "unacceptable!" I waited a few minutes for her body to relax, then reached in to pet her as I didn't want to leave on the note that she would think she scared me away. Her body was on alert, and her eyes never let off of me, and I stroked her gently then said goodnight. Although she has been in captivity for 2 years, she is still feral in many respects. She was telling me in the only way she could, that she is afraid of changes because with changes come bad things. I have to now regain her trust in her bigger environment and probably will have to do so again and again until she realizes I am not going to give up on her, no matter what.

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