When Mao was just a kitten, his owner who was out shopping found him abandoned in the street and brought him back with the groceries.
Whilst still a youngster, Mao fell springing from balcony to balcony in his native Spain. As a result, when the 10 year old Mao arrives at my home he greets me with a crooked tale and a left ear that is bent towards me giving him, like a raised eyebrow in a human, a slightly quizzical look.
Although unsure of me at first Mao, exudes confidence. I watch amused as Mao pushes his head through doors, hops onto chairs and sniffs the sofa inquisitively. When I opened the window to the protected balcony, Mao’s round eyes widen as he turns his head to the skis and sniffs the fresh air.
It is a day or two before Mao starts wrapping his body around my legs, sliding his head down my ankle to my feet, tucking in his paw and rolling over. Coming to a halt on his back, Mao rocks gently, all four paws floating in the air and stares at me intently.
It is day three before Mao starts to talk, it starts with a soft mew as he enters a room and rised to a constant stream of chatter that accompanies him everywhere.
By the forth night Mao is sleeping at the bottom of my bed and in the morning, he steps onto my back and edges his way forward until he is resting his chin gently on my shoulder.
After breakfast, my furry friend follows me around head butting his way into the bathroom and sitting on the toilet while I brush my teeth. Fascinated he jumps into the sink and I leave him to investigate. When Mao hears, the wardrobe opening in the bedroom, he lets himself out with his paw and joins me, squeezing past my legs to peer inside. I pick him up so he can get a better look and Mao stares, head up, crooked ear down, in wonder at whatever is hiding behind my clothes. He leans forward and still in my arms puts out a paw and gently moves the clothes aside to get a better look.
After assessing my wardrobe Mao spends some time on the balcony, then retires for the rest of the day after a slightly manic run around the apartment. He is a connoisseur of comfort and has sniffed out the best position on every surface in the apartment. His favourites include his blanket, the cushion under the bed, the wicker chair on the balcony, the giant scratch pad or my lap. Finding an object, he will circle it while sniffing the air and then hop aboard. Kneading gently, he will crash onto his chosen surface and will not move again unless there is a better proposition.