The humane society was saddened to hear of the passing of Mayah, one of the famous Horton’s Books and Gifts cats, on Monday, Sept. 21. She was fifteen years old and had been a fixture on Adamson Square for most of her life, charming visitors to the store. While we are big fans of all the fabulous Horton’s cats, Mayah had a special connection to CCHS that made her extra-special to us.

You see, Mayah came to live at Horton’s through CCHS. We always have a booth at Mayfest and bring adoptable shelter animals. These days we confine those efforts to dogs, who handle the excitement of the Mayfest crowds better than their feline counterparts. One Mayfest years ago, however, we brought both dogs and cats. One of the cats was little Mayah, who had been stuck at the shelter for some time.

One of our volunteers had taken a special interest in Mayah, having been volunteering at the shelter the day Mayah was turned in. A pregnant woman and her young daughter brought the young cat in. The woman explained that she wanted to turn Mayah in because she feared the cat would harm her baby once it was born by smothering it. The volunteer and a staff member both tried to persuade her that was an old wives’ tale without any validity and that there was no need to surrender her cat. The little girl was in tears but the mother was determined. So the girl asked the volunteer to keep an eye on her kitty and help it find a safe new home.
Every week for some over a month, the little girl called the volunteer to ask if her kitty had been adopted yet. Every week, the volunteer had to admit Mayah was still at the shelter.

The volunteer made sure that Mayah was included in the cats taken to Mayfest that year. She knew time was running out and she could not bear the thought of having to tell the little girl that Mayah never found a new home.

Adoptions were plentiful that year. In fact, the CCHS booth ran out of dogs completely and had to send back to the shelter to get more. Cats, too, were being adopted briskly. But not Mayah. The noise and the crowds stressed her out and she crawled under the blanket in her carrier and hid. No one was going to adopt a cat they couldn’t even see. We intended to send her back to the shelter for her own good, but miscommunication kept that from happening.

At the end of the event, Dottie and her daughter came out of Horton’s and asked us how things had gone. We were proud to say that we had a record number of adoptions that year, and that all but one of the animals available had gotten adopted, except for one. We shared the sad story of Mayah and how disappointed we all were that she would be returning to the shelter.

Well, dear Dorothy Pittman would have none of that. She decided that Mayah should remain on the Square permanently, as a bookstore cat. So everybody got to live happily ever after! They got a great cat, Mayah got a good home, and the relieved volunteer got to tell a very happy little girl that not only did Mayah finally have a new home, but that the little girl would be able to visit her there.

So farewell, dear Mayah. It was a pleasure to know you. You will definitely be missed.