We first met Maui on instagram under the now deleted account @wild.mauii. We chatted briefly through Maui’s human’s personal account. I thought that Maui’s story is incredible and touching and wanted to share with you all. Thank you Roxanne for agreeing to this interview!
Can you tell us a little about Maui’s and what kind of adventures you go on?
Sure, Maui is a very hyperactive cat! She has a great personality, she is smart and curious about the world! She is a strong, independent little girl who enjoys all kind of adventures, from urban parks to wilderness mountains, from quiet lakes to fast moving rivers! No matter if its snowy, rainy, foggy or sunny, we can always count on a very enthusiastic Maui to tag along!
When Maui first joined your family, she was a little wild. Can you tell us a little about her past and what she was like when you first got her? How did you work with getting her to trust you?
That’s a long story, but I will try to make it short! We adopted Maui from a local shelter when she was a little less then a year old. They told us we were her 4th family, and that they first got her when they visited an apartment, following up on many complains about bad smells and noises coming from there. It turns out, Maui’s first experience with humans was a breeding mill. She didn’t have any more luck with the next two families, being aggressively punished by one, and getting into a fight with the family dog of the 3rd family, injuring him or her badly in the eye. Back at the shelter, she was placed in the aggressive cat section, not being allowed to exit the cage because she could attack the other cats. It had a note on her cage : “humanitarian adoption”. She looked at me with her gorgeous, round, emerald eyes full of curiosity. I couldn’t believe that at such a young age, she was already in that category. I filed an adoption file, promising to work with a feline behaviorist.
The first few months were a nightmare. She was always hiding and screaming every time we would enter the same room she was in. She was attacking our arms and legs and trying to escape every time the front door was open. She was indeed very feral, but still, she was young, so she was very workable. We tried to lure her away from her hiding spot with toys, and gave her treats every step she took outside.. we moved her feeding bowl a little further away from her hiding spot each day.. she then started to get less scared of us, she was very independent, never looking for interactions with us, but at least she wasn’t hiding. I found a podcast (catexplorer) about cat adventurers and I wanted to try. Maui was so energetic, she was going crazy inside 4 walls. We have put a harness and leash on her and took her to the backyard.. she liked it so much, and every time we went outside, her trust in us grew more and more, and still more and more today.
How is Maui now? How does she act when she is on adventures, and how does she act when interacting with strangers?
Maui loves adventures. She follows along very well. She loves stopping every now and then along the walk, to observe squirrels and birds, or to sniff bushes, or to chew on grass. Maui gets along with dogs, and she is always interested in meeting them snout to snout. She sadly hates cats (but we are working on that), and she is not very comfortable with strangers in general. Maui tends to walk around them on the sidewalk, avoiding them. If the person remains calm and gets down on her level, she might get curious and go to smell him/her, but she never wants to be pet by them. But with excited or agitated strangers (like kids), she is definitely not comfortable around them, and tends to run in the opposite direction.
Most cats do not like strangers coming too close to them and would react negatively when they feel threatened. Can you tell us about the incident with the kid?
Sure! So, we were walking Maui in a park. She was sniffing bushes when a kindergarten aged boy ran toward her, with arms wide open, wanting to grab Maui. When I saw him charging at Maui, I knew how Maui would react, so I shouted at him not to approach, and took Maui in my arms, while she was trying to attack the boy who was already too close. Fortunately the boy didn’t get hurt, and I was the one who got attacked instead. I don’t hold any grudge against the kid who didn’t mean any harm, but I was furious at his mother who was at the other side of the park, chatting with another parent, leaving her kid unsupervised. We brought the kid to his mother explaining the situation. She then proceeded to sue us asking for money and asking for, I quote, “this aggressive and unpredictable cat should be put down”.
Roxanne and Martin decided to delete Maui’s Instagram account and focus on adventuring with Maui just for themselves. Will you still be bringing Maui for adventures, and how has deleting Instagram impacted your adventures?
At first, the whole situation played with our heads! We started to doubt that we were being the best parents for her. We started to wonder if we were really doing all that for her, or for gaining follower and likes on Instagram. We also felt like frauds, posting about Maui being a good cat, spreading around that even older cats or very traumatized cats can become great adventurers, and be the best version of themselves when Maui just tried to attack a kid.
The weeks between the attack and the court hearing, we stopped taking Maui outside. She became crazy, meowing loudly at night, running around and throwing everything off the shelves and furniture, breaking things and getting into all kind of mischief. We took her back outside one day, and that day she was back as the Maui we knew. I had it, I had my proof that adventures is as good for her, as it is for us, if not even better. But I don’t think I will redo Maui’s account, since I enjoy walking with her without having to film her every steps to make a cool story on IG, or trying to find the best place for a photo and filled her with treats so she won’t move.. I enjoy our quiet, pressured free walks.