Copyright © 2009 toshiyuki ihira
When I was living in a boarding house back in Yokohama, there was a young cat, obviously carrying litters and I can clearly see she was about to give birth. She was very young. She was probably living compelled by her instinct alone but she didn't know what to do with her litters about to be born. She could only roam around until she was ready to give birth. She was hissing and panicking outside my window the day we met. She was looking for a place to settle and have her litter but she didn't know what to look for that became clear to me when I placed a cardboard box on its side with used clothes lining inside. She was just staring at the box, not going in even in her panicked state. It took a good 4 minutes for her to decide it is o.k. to go in. She dashed in that afternoon. It was quiet. I didn't hear a sound coming out. I spent the rest of the evening going about my usual routine and went to sleep.
Next morning I didn't think much about her. I went out to take care of my chores and a bit of business. In the afternoon, I looked out my window to see how she was doing. She was sneaking, moving quietly checking out the backyard. When she saw me, she raced back into the box. Well, o.k. All I did was give her a box. She didn't have to be nice to me. I went out again. It was an early evening that day when I came back and heard her crying a mean, angry \"ooowwww‚\" in the backyard. I tried not to make a sound when I pulled on my window to peek out. She was angry at the world. She was all alone and hungry. I could see she gave birth, her belly was shrunken. I was a lot larger than she was and I was looking down from high out of my window. What can she do to me? I felt threatened by her because she was so mad at, not anyone or anything in particular but generally at the world. She was mad at the situation she found herself in. I \"me\"ed to her in a gentle voice with a good eye contact. Saying \"me\" is a friendly hello in cat talk, I call \"catlish.\" I repeated it a few times. First she ignored me but after a few minuets she made up her mind and dashed over to just below my window. She shouted at me. Angry call and a demand. I didn't understand what she wanted of me. She didn't go away or give up. She kept shouting at me, looking straight in my eyes.
She gave birth so, I figured she would be tired. That much is obvious. Maybe, she was hungry. She needed to feed her litter, too. I went out, didn't say a thing to her. I just left, leaving her alone. It took me a good 10 minuets to get back. She was quiet then but when she saw me sticking my head out the window, she dashed over, looking up at me. Yes, I think I guessed right. I opened a can of cat food and placed it in a paper plate and lowered it out the window to her. She ate it up, going \"wow, wow.\" Things went on like that for a week. She is demanding, almost angry. That angry disposition didn't subside. I think she wanted what's going to keep going so, she kept everything to be the same. I didn't want her to feel out of control. So, I, too, kept going.
After a week, her being angry became old. I wanted her to feel more comfortable with me. I was feeding her and I wasn't going to stop any time soon. I started to talk to her. \"Me, .... ‚ me‚\" in a soothing voice. When she looked at me, I looked back at her, making eye contact. She accepted me. A relief. I suppose her angry cry was getting to me but that was over. She was still demanding but she was a lot nicer, more friendly. A manager of the boarding house knew I was keeping a cat. Well, that's what she thought. She alerted the building owner. She came over and told me I couldn't keep the cat here. She wasn't a mean person in any way. She was just trying to keep an order. If everyone in the boarding house started keeping a pet, things would've gotten ugly. I explained the entire situation from the start of seeing the cat in a pregnant state, panicking outside my window. She was a nice person. She volunteered to look for families for each kitten. The manager kept the mother. I couldn't have a pet on ongoing basis so, that was a lifesaver for me. When I go out, I pass the manager's room. The cat was kept inside her room initially but she started to rest just outside of the door, on a raised platform. The manager told me she kept scratching the door whenever I passed outside in the hall. So, she let the cat stay out whenever it wanted.
I wish there was a good ending but no. When I go out, often times I needed to go right away. I didn't have much of time to mill around. The cat wanted to say hi to me and mingle and socialize. I spent a little bit of time saying hi back to her. Often times I needed to just go. That instances went up in numbers. She wanted to say hi but that wasn't all. She wanted to follow me, too. I couldn't let her do that. I started to avoid seeing her. I walked quietly, trying not to let her notice I was outside the door. She recognized my behavior and got mad at me. She started to hiss at me, again. I think she felt betrayed and abandoned. After a while, a bit long though, she settled into ignoring me. I was afraid she decided, if I abandon her, she would abandon me, too. I had to let it go at that. I couldn't find other way out. That was the most I could hope for.
After all those years, I haven't forgotten her. I think people don't have quite right ideas about cats. Some notions of cats are out right wrong. I want people to know the true nature of cats. They can be wonderful companions in people's life if people know how to talk to them, how to bond with them.
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Book / Non-Fiction
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Short Story / Literary Fiction
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