Sporadic Happiness (in Japan!)

(formerly) updated every Wednesday

#23 Stray Island Cats

on May 9, 2012

The islands we live on in Japan has a LOT of stray cats.

Most of them are skittish and don’t care too much for humans.

Some humans do feed them though, and in a way “adopt” them by continuing to feed them, such that those cats constantly hang around their house, but they aren’t let inside, such as this guy:

Other times people do take strays into their homes and treat them as one of their own.

More often than not though, strays just wander the streets. They’re not something you can always expect to see, but whenever you see one (or more!), it can be a treat.

Why? My boyfriend and I are pet deprived. I’ve never owned a cat before, but he’s had cats all his life, and being away from them in Japan has made him cat-specifically deprived.

On his island there’s an orange cat named Chibi that follows its adopted owner around town, and is somewhat old and docile and welcoming of attention. One time it even followed its “owner” to the port and went all the way up to the boat and stood amongst other humans, which we found surprising.

This is a younger, Chibi look-alike that my boyfriend is petting. Maybe a Chibi Jr.?

Often on my island, cats gather around the candied french fry factory, where no doubt they are being fed scraps. I’ve found a cat or two around there amenable to pets.

While stray cats are numerous, ones that welcome pets (petting) are still in the minority, so whenever you find one, it’s a glorious day.

A few weeks ago, I was walking to school one morning, over this sort of mountain pass where it’s fairly secluded from houses and people. Right smack in the middle of the narrow one-lane road, was a grey cat, sitting pretty. It was looking in my direction and seemed to be waiting for me. As I approached, it ran up to me and started cooing around my legs and pushing its head into my hand and acting like a normal house cat. It’s fur was so soft too. It seemed to be a young adult – no longer a kitten, but not quite fully grown. It also had really interesting, prettily colored markings.

I was smitten with the cat, and wanted to take it home, of course. After petting it for an inordinate amount of time (I was on my way to work, after all), I said goodbye and started walking onward.

But then it followed me, at first at my side (I was walking slowly – I didn’t want to leave it either) and then trailing behind me. Two ladies passed me going the other direction and commented that it looked like I was taking it for a walk!

After the ladies passed, I stooped down to pet it some more. I couldn’t resist.

Then it noticed another cat in the distance.

That other cat came our way, and came near me for pets too.

By this time I was almost late for work, and saw this as my opportunity to take my leave since it would have been sad to leave the first kitty all by itself. But with the comforting presence of a friend/sibling/mate I reluctantly left the two behind.

It really made my day though! Aren’t they gorgeous?

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