Aja Matley

I wasn’t always a cat person. Shocking, I know. I grew up with dogs and didn’t have “cat people” as parents. Plus I’m technically allergic. But then I met a sweet tuxedo girl named Sophie and she got me to open up to the idea of a feline friend of my own. Before long, Justin and I were bringing home not one, but two cats to our small, one-bedroom apartment in Astoria. Cali was named after something to do with Valentine’s Day (they came home with us mid-February 2009). Aja got her name from Justin – feeling like she was an explorer and it reminded him of the Steely Dan album. And just like that, we were a little family of four.

Aja was our scaredy cat – she’d run away from a plastic bag being fluffed, would spend her time in another room when company was over. But she always slept with us, usually by Justin’s feet.
When we moved to Norwalk 11 years ago, Aja adjusted seamlessly (Cali needed Prozac). She was no longer a scaredy cat – she actually was our mouser, which was fun to discover at 2AM while I was pregnant with Josie and she was chasing a mouse around upstairs. By the time Caroline came around, she had opened up to the fact that there would be small people in her life and grew to love them both.
And as she aged, her sweetness spread to not only our immediate family, but to those who would visit. She no longer hid when company was around. She loved when the girls went to bed because she got to have her time with Justin and me.

She had the best facial expressions, always rolling her eyes at my unending photo-taking. She loved to just sit at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for someone to come and keep her company. There wasn’t a box or bra she didn’t love and she was the queen of romantic poses. She and Cali first introduced me to the unique relationship of sisters – loving each other fiercely and then fighting a second later. Only to be snuggling up together shortly after. I always felt like she was the older of the two from their litter, letting Cali have first dibs on food, being the calmer of the two.

Her health was always on the line – first with low calcium levels, then hyperthyroidism, she almost lost a toe (!), had some mysterious lump on her left shoulder and eventually developed kidney disease.
These last few months have been a series of up and down moments. Through it all she maintained her incredible sweetness and gentleness. Only complained a little when it was time for her meds or fluids or…
We said goodbye to this incredible girl yesterday.

It was a perfect early Spring day. She got extra treats, lounged in the breeze of the doorway with the sun on her face and the birds singing in the background.
We grew up with her. We are so lucky she and Cali found us. She will forever be loved and cherished. And we will miss her always.”