Maya’s appearance looks a little different due to a chromosomal abnormality.
She has an extra chromosome and although her condition is sometimes compared to that of Down Syndrome in humans, its not the same.
However, Maya does have some special needs that arose mostly because of how her face formed as a result of her extra chromosome.
She is cross-eyed and has some vision issues, and has some trouble breathing due to the structure of her nose.
Maya is also smaller than the average cat her age, but this just adds to her adorableness.
The perfect cat parents
Maya had been living at The Odd Cat Sanctuary, a non-profit rescue for special needs cats in Massachusetts, USA.
And after the sanctuary posted about looking for a forever home for Maya (previously named Sugarplum) her future owners immediately applied.
The post received a lot of attention and thousands of people from all over the US applied to take her into their homes!
But after several interviews and a home visit, Lauren and Harrison ended up being the lucky couple to claim her as their own.
Coincidently Lauren had couched a Special Olympics team on the weekends since she was young, and felt like Maya would fit perfectly into their lives.
“I saw on the Odd Cat Sanctuary’s page that Maya had a chromosomal abnormality akin to Down Syndrome in humans, and felt an immediate connection.”Lauren
Lauren and Harrison adore Maya, and post pictures and videos of her on a Instagram page dedicated to her.
She is one popular cat of Instagram with over 500,000 followers!
And the couple have used Maya’s popularity for good.
They wrote a book together about her story that celebrates the differences between us all, and seeks to encourage the acceptance of those with disabilities.
With all profits from this book going to The Odd Cat Sanctuary and Special Olympics Massachusetts.
They also set up an organization dedicated to providing resources and education about the importance of inclusivity inspired by Maya called All Worthy.
And so, Maya herself has become something of an advocate.
By just being herself, she has inspired her owners, and people around the world to accept cats, and people, with disabilities.