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.
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.