Sunday, January 24, 2016

Cats and Snow

Early this week a big winter storm approached Kanazawa – all of Japan, in fact. On Sunday we saw a public service announcement that recommended stocking up on essentials in case a massive power outage hit and lasted one or two days.

The news excited So and Se and they sat in the windows waiting for the massive snowfall. Whenever it snows they seem to think that snowflakes are white insects falling from the sky. They climb the windows trying to catch them.


Saturday, January 23, 2016

So-chan and the Sapporo Beer Stein

As I've said before, So-chan is a chewer. Supposedly this is because he didn't have access to his mother as a kitten and thus couldn't nurse. In any case, he chews everything, even his water bowls. In addition, he loves water. He enters the shower as soon as we're done and sometimes even sits in the warm pools left behind on the shower floor. It's no surprise, then, that he likes to overturn his water bowl. Resourceful cat parents that we are, we discovered that our giant Sapporo Beer glass, when kept filled with water, was too heavy for him to knock over. Putting a cat-guard beside the glass to keep young So in line also helps.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Clothes for (cold) cat figurines

It bears only a passing resemblance to clothes people knit for Jizo statues to wear in cold weather, but my wife recently made something like a jacket for the wooden cat atop the gatepost outside our front door.

The cat seems happy enough, if not exactly fashionable.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Cats Can Have Identity Crises, Too

We're raising our cats in a multi-language, multi-cultural household. At 22 months of age, So and Se don't distinguish between the languages we use – variations of "NO!" and "No-o-o-o!" in Vietnamese, Japanese, and English – but they still seem to identify with Vietnam, their country of birth.

Last week So asked if he was a Vietnamese, Japanese, or American cat, or if he had dual cat citizenship. When we explained that the law viewed him as Japanese now, he asked what "law" meant, but then got distracted by some fuzz floating across the floor and forgot that he'd asked a question. When I had his attention again, I said he was now a Japanese cat.

After getting over the initial shock (see photos below), he confessed to feeling "all shook up inside." Almost immediately he heard a crow cawing outside, leaped onto the windowsill, and the subject was dropped.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Allure of a Bag...and a Cat in a Bag

In anticipation of being fed, So and Se tend to roll around in bags a lot, swing their tails, punch, bite, and sumo wrestle with each other. (They eat four times a day, so we're frequently entertained.)

Thursday, January 14, 2016

So-chan Will Be the Ruin of Us

That's the fear anyway. This morning we woke up and discovered...

There is nothing tastier to So-chan's palate, apparently, than wallpaper and wood.

...that So-chan had chewed through not just the wallpaper, but also a protective layer of thicker paper and – there goes our apartment deposit, the equivalent of three months' rent – the wood underneath. This is the third time he's done this, and represents the largest chunk he's taken out of our walls (and possibly our pocketbook) so far. As you can see, So has had a direct impact on our apartment's interior.

Huge swathes of protective paper now decorate the walls in every room and hallway of our apartment.

Each piece of protective paper costs ¥860 ($7.15)... 

In these photos alone you can see 13 separate pieces we've used...

I think I'll try biting my water bowl...

Se-chan has contributed to that look, too, by the use of his claws. So-chan, however, remains the bigger culprit.

Cat graffiti mars our apartment walls.

My wife commented that although we acquired both cats for free by rescuing them, they've since cost us more than any expensive pure breeds might have.

Maybe it's time we open a cat cafe and make So and Se earn their keep. Either that, or fit them with gloves and muzzles. Or one of these...

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Vietnamese Cat in Japanese Winter

Se-chan, born in HCMC, is used to winter temperatures between 30º - 35º C (86º - 95º F).

There's not a lot of winter clothing for cats to be found where we live, so we've invested in electric blankets and fuzzy handkerchiefs to help So and Se stay warm.

Se-chan likes the "old peasant grandma" look, especially if there's a design motif involving black cats. We're most happy to oblige him.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Don't Let Those Angel Eyes Fool You

He looks so innocent standing beside that bottle of Aizu Musume...

So-chan relishes his role in our home as the protector of sake. Here he is making sure no one pours from our bottle of Aizu Musume without his consent.

However, he is less a protector than a co-miscreant with Se-chan when it comes to food of any type. In that case, he relishes his role as a thief.

Below we see him in the moment between launching himself onto the dining table and nabbing my scallop sashimi. I would have photographed the latter moment had I not dropped my camera and started chasing him.

Look, Se-chan, scallop sashimi! Meet me under the sofa and I'll split my haul with you!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Se-Chan: The Paper Eater in the Family

The tissue box was all safely tucked away inside the TV rack when we went to bed last night. I wonder what happened between then and this morning?

Hmm, Se-chan?

I wouldn't know. I'm just a little orange angel sitting in my cat cave...

Friday, January 1, 2016

As if Shot from a Cannon

It's not like we starve our cats or anything. We feed them dry food three times a day and wet food once at night, and we also cave in to the two pairs of sad eyes and cat cries that are unavoidable whenever we eat yoghurt and sashimi, especially. But when their automatic feeders dispense their dry food, you better not be in their paths to the kitchen.

This video is not speeded up. So and Se are like giant bullets with fur and legs than can make a turn on a dime if there's food to be found around the corner.