Portrait of a Cat


My ex-wife really wanted a cat.  I was concerned that it would affect our traveling and I wasn’t really ready for the responsibility.  I managed to put her off for a little while, but one day, while I was running errands at the mall, she had wandered into the pet store and fell in love with a little black kitten.  He came home with us that very night.

He was little and was a little afraid to be in our place.  It took him weeks to venture to all parts of our relatively small place.  There were some thresholds he wouldn’t cross….until he did.  Once that was accomplished, he was the king of the castle.

In that first apartment, we used to play fetch.  I would throw the bouncy ball down the long hallway we had that spanned the whole place.  He would chase the ball and bring it back to me….most of the time.  He would even bring me the ball and signal that it was time to play.  When the ball was no longer fun, I did the same thing with his cat treats.  He could chase those down relentlessly.

After the divorce, he stayed with me because making the transpacific journey was difficult.  Also, Japan requires a lot of paperwork, microchips, and shots before they will accept any animal in the country.  It is a rabies free country and I can’t blame them for wanting it to stay that way.

In those years, he was my post break-up company.  Maybe we as humans project onto animals, but I think he had a lot of empathy for me.  His companionship helped me and having a sense of responsibility wasn’t too bad either.  Of course, I had to find people to feed him when I went on vacation.  While this was difficult, and sometimes not free, it was always nice that he was there to greet me when I got back.

Our daily routine consisted of him waking me up before my alarm.  I usually managed to put him off with a few “just wait a minute” phrases said in Japanese.  (Chotto matte).  However, he could be persistent when food was involved.  He would either lovingly rub against me, somewhat less lovingly head-butt me, and on a few occasions slowly protrude his claws into me Wolverine style–just so I got the point.

keitatsu and shinkansen 001

When I got home from work, he was always there to greet me.  I like to think it was me and not the treat he was bound to get that motivated this.

He was quite protective and didn’t like interlopers in the house.  If you weren’t staying long, you might not even see him.  However, if you were around for a while, he would make his presence (and dominance) known.

In the last week, he was seemingly a much better cat than he had been for the past year.  In fact Thursday, he spent most of the day near me.  He even slept beside me in the small pet bed I bought last week–I bought one that was too small, but he seemed to like the coziness—while I taught my classes over the internet.

Sadly, Friday morning he didn’t wake me up to feed him.  It was the last day of his life.  Thank you for letting me share this portrait of my cat with you.  It helps me a lot.

Goodbye Keitatsu. Rest in peace.  I miss you already.

About Anthony

I am: equal parts rebel, romantic and shockingly average Joe. a writer trapped inside of an ESL teacher's body. an introverted attention seeker. a teacher who hopes one day to be called "Captain, my Captain." an intellectual who can do some very dumb things. a person whose Japan experience, despite being so long ago, still exerts a strong influence upon him. a lover of books, music, beer, hockey and Pizza.
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16 Responses to Portrait of a Cat

  1. idlecyclist says:

    I had a feeling where you were going with this story 😔 Pets occupy a very special place in our hearts, I hope you can enjoy the many memories you have ❤️

  2. retrodee says:

    Aw, Anthony, I’m so sorry for your loss. Keitatsu sounds like he was a great companion. I still miss my Chelsea sooo much. She was my best friend for 20 years and I still think the only one who ever really understood me. She passed away in November 2018. Thank you for sharing this story. May the good memories of Keitatsu comfort you now and always.

  3. gemmi72 says:

    Cats are the most misunderstood animals. They care about more than food and themselves. Thank you for sharing. I understand your sadness.

  4. Lkvy says:

    Awwwh, I’m sorry. ❤
    I was also worried about the responsibilities of having pets, but now that I have them (my cats were my partner’s to begin with), it’d be okay with me if they were immortal.

  5. Margie. says:

    Sorry for your loss Anthony. RIP little buddy.

  6. I’m sure sorry to hear about this, Anthony! I remember only too well how painful this can be. Such a sweet boy, and I know you’ll miss him. It does get easier, each day, and then you’ll need to decide whether you want to try it all over again…

  7. Jinjer says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. He sounded like a really great little cat.

  8. Geri Lawhon says:

    I am sorry for the loss of your cat, and I am glad that he was there to fill the void in your life when you needed it.

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