Getting to Know Lisa-Maria Padilla

Getting to Know Lisa-Maria Padilla

A regular writer for Cat Fanciers' Almanac, Lisa-Maria Padilla loves cats and loves writing about them. Padilla has two cats, Cali Mooner and Twla Mooner. The six-year-old Bengal, Cali Mooner, often finds a resting perch on Padilla’s shoulders, like a parrot on a pirate’s shoulder.

Recently, Padilla was asked to be a featured writer for the book, "Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover’s Soul." The book, which came out last month, featured a story by Padilla called "Inflight Movings." Padilla, a long-time Reston resident, is this week’s profile.


Number of years living in the community:

Hard to believe, almost 21. The gray hair started sneaking in the early '90s — I don't blame the community for those though.

About you and your family:

My late father was from a small town in Mexico, and my mom is a California native of German-Welsh decent. I was born in Los Angeles and raised in La Mirada, Calif. Mom still lives there on the West Coast, so I try to visit her often. We were always both an Angels and Dodgers family, especially Mom, having worked for Gene Autry at the studio in Hollywood. Dad worked for the Salvation Army for a number of years, and then sold real estate.


BA in graphic design and illustration from California State University, Fullerton (Go Titans)

Current Job:

Senior graphic designer in the U.S. Government. OK, I blame that for the gray hair.


At one time I was ranked as one of the top 10 female bowlers in the Washington area. I need to get serious about my bowling again, especially since I have about eight or nine bowling balls rolling around in my closet. I do love bowling, although since I'm bad at math I have a hard time figuring out my own score.

Considering that my writing is often focused on life with cats, I have a regular humor column in the Cat Fanciers Association Almanac magazine; also a regular column in South Africa's leading cat magazine. Additionally, my work has appeared in magazines in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. Also, I have an online e-zine,

One of my cats, my blue Abyssinian Twyla Mooner, and I just recently went to Madison Square Garden to be interviewed for some local New York TV shows, and an HGTV segment. Twyla competes in the new sport of cat agility and has proven to be very good. I've actually written some humor pieces about cat agility, but my own felines have generally proven to be less than speed demons, or even willing participants, in this fun activity. Twyla, who is now five months old, is a natural — so much so that she won a tournament. Twyla's little face is even on Yahoo — do a search under "Twyla Mooner." She is very cute, but I don't say that to her because I don't want it to go to her head.


Biking, showing cats (Abyssinians and Bengals are my breeds), then there's those bowling balls waiting for me again to return.

On nice evenings I can often be found at Town Center, near the fountain, out with one of my leashed-trained cats. For some reason a cute cat on a leash always manages to get noticed. Now if only my cute cats could get George Clooney to saunter over for a chat.

Favorite local restaurant:

Rio Grande at Town Center. I'm a "Swirl" kinda girl.

Community Concerns:

I actually like the idea of homeowner associations having covenants and rules for how property is to be kept up, and I'm afraid that some clusters are letting their standards fall by the wayside. I moved to Reston because I thought it was a beautiful place to live — reminds me of Mission Viejo in California — and I came in knowing that there were restrictive covenants in place to maintain the visual appeal. This should be no secret to homebuyers here, and cluster boards (of which I was an officer for six stressful years), and residents each have a responsibility to take pride in the look of Reston.