Ilana Dadras & Maloos

“Maloos is the biscuit-making champion of Sullivan Street, with tiny folded gray ears, an incredible vocal range and a fluffy, raccoon-striped tail. She is at once moody and loving, independent and loyal. She’ll awake from a deep slumber to follow me off the couch no matter what, as if she can’t bear to imagine me having an adventure without her, and she wakes me up each morning by standing on the top step of the stairs to my loft bed, meowing at the top of her little lungs. Once she gets me up, she’ll follow me to the shower and fall asleep on the bathmat, drifting off to sleep on her back, delighting in the steamy warmness—her limbs flopping effortlessly to each side. It’s like she’s waking me for her daily spa ritual.

Right now, Maloos is really into crispy wild tuna flakes and sharp cheddar cheese. When she stretches, she does so with such gusto that her two front paws lift a couple inches off the ground, and when you pet her in her sleep she instinctively stretches her toes. Maloos loves sitting by the window watching the world go by, and looks forward to a day when she might live on a ground floor with more bird and squirrel watching opportunities. For now, the occasional pigeon or sparrow will do. When she cooperates, I strap her into a glittery blue harness and take her down into my backyard. I let her lead me around the concrete or carefully weave our way through the half-dead plants, usually with a glass of red in hand. I imagine it’s really quite a sight.

My ex-boyfriend actually found Maloos last summer on Craigslist. He picked her up from a Russian family on Staten Island when I was on vacation with my family in Cape Cod—I remember I was sipping lukewarm Pinot Grigio by a lake with my mom when I got the text that he had found a Scottish Fold kitten I needed to see, that we needed to have her. In the video that convinced me (granted, I didn’t need much convincing) she was about the size of a hand, using her claws to drag herself around that family’s living room rug like some sort of crazed feline Spiderman. We named her Maloos after my dad’s first cat, a Persian kitten also worthy of the Farsi word for “lovable” or “charming.” Loo for short. We hadn’t even fully discussed or decided on getting a cat, but in that hopeful breed of hazy summer love we took the leap.

We recently broke up, and honestly at times I found it hard to snuggle Loo without thinking about him too much. I felt guilty about this conflicted, uneasy feeling for a while. I needed to bury my head in her belly, but whenever she’d look at me with her giant owl eyes I’d remember how we used to discuss if the shade of brown she had as a kitten would ever go Halloween-orange-bright like her dad’s. They did. I wanted to hold her between my knees and massage her pillow-soft cheeks, but whenever I did I could picture him doing the same, and it sent pangs through my still-raw chest. My tears would drop down on her head, and the water-lover that she is, she’d look up at me half-hoping it’d turn into a full-fledged bath.

These days, that sadness hasn’t yet faded, but I’m able to let it become absorbed in our history—knowing where she came from and the phases we’ve been through together makes me love her all the more. She is hopeful love, she is inevitable change, she is me learning to cope. She is a leap of faith, a reliable confidant, and a reminder of both the brilliant innocence of potent love and its ultimate impermanence. She’s a reminder that we come out on the other side okay. She is my tiny constant love, and she is always there to meow me out of bed in the morning.”

Ilana Dadras was born in Queens and now lives in Soho. She is an editor at UrbanDaddy by day, usually chasing music covered in glitter by night, and dreams of one day living in nature.



Photographer based in Brooklyn, NY.

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