Happy Tail: Kitten practices parkour


It’s 6:30 a.m. Malaea Relampagos feels a light tapping on her shoulder and then a gentle bite to her cheek. Time to get up, according to Olivia, a little black kitty that acts as a feline alarm clock.

Olivia pops up out of the clean laundry, ready for some action.

Olivia pops up out of the clean laundry, ready for some action.

Malaea grew up with lots of pets, and her family set a good example, always getting them from shelters or taking in strays. Malaea herself adopted a pet from Greenhill Humane Society in Eugene, Oregon, when she was in college.

“We lived together all through college, but she really needed the company of another cat, so she lives with my mother and her cat and dog in Eugene,” Malaea says.

After college, she moved to New York and really missed having a pet, so last fall she adopted Olivia from the ASPCA. “When they found her in the Bronx,” Malaea says, “her eye was severely infected, so they had to remove it.”

The loss of her eye didn’t slow her down. “I call her a soccer star because she loves dribbling her toys up and down the length of my apartment.” Malaea says.

“She’s in what I call her ‘kitten parkour’ phase.” Parkour is the sport in which people (and kittens, too) move rapidly by running, jumping and climbing to get from one place to another. Olivia does all of those as she negotiates walls, furniture and about everything else in the apartment. She has even learned how to turn the lights off and on in Malaea’s room by throwing herself against the wall.

“She drives me nuts sometimes,” Malaea says, “but I can’t ever get mad at her because she’s so adorable. My friends say she is my spirit animal because we’re both small, sassy and a little bit crazy at times.” By a stroke of luck, these two kindred spirits have found each other.