Emmy DaVirro & Maxine

My husband and I both grew up in anti-cat households. We blame it on our respective mothers’ allergies, not on anyone’s true hatred of the creatures.

A year ago we began to toy with the idea of adding a furry roommate to our East Village life, but knew from childhood experience that dogs were more responsibility than we wanted in the confines of city living, and rabbits poop too much. Luckily, we have some strong cat advocates (catvocates?) in our life. Namely, my brother (originally a part of the anti-cat club) who fell in love with a self-proclaimed “cat lady”, and subsequently fell in love with her 2 tabbies. And our friends from Greenpoint who routinely invited us over for drinks and tuxedo-cat snuggles at their apartment.

With the catvocate army’s encouragement, we seriously started to consider a feline…much to our mothers’ disappointment.XJ8A3094aOn a chilly January Saturday, we visited the Brooklyn Cat Cafe. Ahead of time, we texted with the owner, Kat (no pun intended), who instructed us to meet a 5 year old tabby named Maxine based on our desired criteria – adult cat, happy being an only child, good for first-time cat owners.

We walked into the cafe and proclaimed “we’re here to meet Maxine.” They ushered us behind the counter where Maxine sat upon a ledge. I reached out and let her sniff my hand (classic dog person move), then gave her a stroke. She placed her paw on my shoulder and gave me the sweetest cheek kiss with her little wet nose. I was smitten. She then promptly nipped my husband’s hand.

So, we socialized with the other cafe cats and returned to Maxine before leaving. Upon second pet, she calmly accepted my husband’s hand, which sealed the deal (don’t tell him, but she was high AF on catnip that time around). We submitted our application with nervous excitement and Maxine was delivered to us the next weekend.

XJ8A3132a7 months later and it’s safe to say that we are officially cat people (while still being dog and bunny people too!), thanks to this sweet and silly girl. Part of the joy of being a first-time cat owner is that EVERYTHING Maxine does is uniquely funny and cute. It’s quite possible that all cats exhibit the same behaviors, and we are just oblivious. But we’re pretty sure she’s the funniest and cutest.

Maxine always wants to be in the same room as us. She hangs out when company is over, in her signature spot on the living room loveseat. When I get home from work, she jumps up on the couch to lay against me and purr. She’s queen of the “kneading dough” move.

She sometimes falls asleep with her tongue out. Sometimes she’s awake with her tongue out. She has dreams where her mouth moves and it looks like she’s talking.XJ8A3086aMaxine is quite the huntress. Her favorite game is to hide under the bed skirt and grab a ribbon dancer toy with both paws simultaneously. We call it “Wicked Witch feet.” On weekends she sits in the sunroom and stares threateningly at birds. I saw her catch a fly the other day.

The only time she’s interested in human food is when we’re eating dairy – ice cream, tzatziki, cream cheese. Her ears perk up and her eyes get that super wide Puss in Boots look. We’ve nicknamed her Dairy Queen. DQ for short.

Another joy of cat ownership is seeing currently petless friends come out of the woodwork as cat lovers. As it turns out, a lot of our friends as kids had house cats of their own, took care of a neighbor’s cat or befriended wandering outdoor kitties. They make special trips to our apartment to visit Maxine, bring her toys and treats, and hoist her up into their arms with enviable cat-confidence.

And two recent additions to the cat lover community? Our moms. Both have visited since Maxine’s arrival and find her a total cutie pie. My mom even stayed with us for a weekend, and now proudly describes herself as a cat Yia Yia – Greek for “grandmother.”

Emmy DaVirro works in creative advertising and enjoys collecting vintage furniture and trying out as many local ice creameries as possible. A native North Carolinian, she lives in the East Village with her husband, cat Maxine, and their growing plant collection.


Photographer based in Brooklyn, NY.

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