I'm living in Kusatsu-shi, Shiga-ken for an undetermined amount of time and teaching English as a second language at a local high school. This journal is to document my experiences, thoughts, and to stay connected with others at home and abroad.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Good night moon, Apollo.

Due to my incompetent management of this blog, recent developments are running a few months behind when they actually occurred. This is our second kitten, Apollo. He arrived back in August to provide Sami, who was dreadfully homesick for his brothers and sisters, with a new family. Because Katie and I are at school half of the day, Sami was left alonely. It was clear that without another friend we would not be able to keep Sami. Neighbors would have surely complained to our landlord about the cat cries coming all day from the apartment next door, which isn't supposed to have cats, ironically. Luckily some nearby friends in Hikone introduced us to Apollo, who was also an only child, and thus we have two completely unrelated brothers.

(By the way, please check out the website of the friends who gave us Apollo, Susan and David. They started and manage an animal shelter out of their home in Shiga to vaccinate and neuter/spay stray cats they find around their area, and trust me, there are plenty. I really want to support these two much more in their efforts to provide treatment and care for halfway-domesticated animals that still roam the streets, because unfortunately there is no humane society in Japan for cats and dogs. If there is, I've never seen or heard of it. The most common way of dealing with animals that are a nuisance is to tie them up in a plastic bag and toss then in a nearby river.)

Apparently David found weekling Apollo hiding under a car in a parking lot from ravens who were trying to attack him. The poor little guy was quite timid and underweight, but Susan and David nursed him back to health. Some of Apollo's abnormal weaning behavior suggests that he lost his mother and family within the first week or so after being born. Even after months of training, every now and then Apollo tries to suckle on our fingers or neck as if they are nipples. He also does not have much awareness for other people's space, and repeatedly steps on us and Sami when he is passing through without noticing. I just think he's a dog. Apollo plays fetch very well, whereas Sami just looks a the toy disinterestedly like a true cat. Sami carries that feline indifference well, but both are incredibly affectionate. They both love to jump up and nuzzle against us at any time, Sami will even pout if we set him down when he wants attention. Any time we are sleeping they will find a nook in an armpit, or the back of a neck, or just curl up again a stomach or back.

Together they make a great team. Sami has settled down and this last two months with them has been wonderful. We call Sami our little butterball Prine because he curls up like a cheese wheel when he sleeps, and he we tell him no at any time he will sit across the room from us and glare like a little tyrant. He thinks he's being intimidating, but it's just so adorable that I go pick him up and give him big squeeze. It's hard to believe how quickly have adapted to one another. It's hard to believe they are related only through situation.

I think the discussion between Katie and I has concluded with me being the owner of the cats. She already has two in Athens waiting for her, so whatever else happens, after this year they are mine to look after. This will be interesting, because I never expected to be a papa so young, but this is a hypnotic land to say the least.



Post a Comment

<< Home