Willy, Akimoto San, and Neko (Cat) Paradise
Day 135: Saturday, July 23, 2011
Last night when I was home alone watching Dawson’s Creek, there was a quiet knock on the door. When I opened it, there was a middle-aged man asking me if Willy was my cat, and I replied yes and that she had been missing for weeks… He then took me a few blocks down and as we walked, I kept thinking, “Wow, this is quite far…” and I knew if he didn’t take me, I would have never found her by myself.
Up a hill was a big high-rise apartment complex- the only one in the neighborhood- and under the stairs was Willy sleeping comfortably. I said hello, and Willy looked up happy to see me. While I petted her, the man told me she had first come here two weeks ago…
Akimoto San, the man who took me there, lived in a house across the street from the complex with banners protesting the apartment building because it was too high, too ugly, and it blocked the sunlight from reaching his place. He also told me that he owned four cats, and he pointed to three of them, whom were running around in the bushes enjoying the cool evening air. Apparently Willy got along with all of them, and actually she had probably followed one of them here two weeks back, and that’s how she found her new hang out spot. Willy was super fat now and looked quite content where she was because besides Akimoto san, everyone in the apartment building was also feeding her.
We talked about cats and I mentioned that sometimes a black one comes to our place every night through the kitchen window (which we leave open for Willy) to steal food. It turned out he knew that cat as well, and said that it used to come by here as well, but the other cats bullied it, so it never came around anymore.
I said thank you to Akimoto san and carried Willy back home in my arms. I fed her and while she was eating, I took a picture with my cell phone and mailed it to my roommates, whom were relieved that she was okay. After she was done, she immediately ran over to the front door wanting to be let out. She looked so anxious, but I refused to open the front door, so she ran over to the kitchen window, which I had closed as soon as we had come in. She looked at me then ran back to the front door. I didn’t like holding her against her will, so I relented and let her go back to her new home.
The next afternoon, I went back to say hello to Willy (with my camera this time since I had forgotten the day before). She was sleeping under the stairs again. Next to her was a little cardboard house that someone had made for her that morning. Soon after Akimoto san came over and said hello. He had a tote bag with a cat embroidered on it and inside were packages of little dried fish from the market. He showed me where two cats of his were hiding named Shiro (White) and Tora (Tiger). He pulled out a little bottle from his tote bag, uncapped it, and poured some powder in front of them, which turned out to be catnip. Soon Tora was rolling around on the ground high. Immediately afterwards a big crow showed up in Akimoto’s garage and started dragging the cat dish away (unfortunately I was out of film by then). Akimoto said that the crow and his friend come by everyday to eat the cat food, and also sometimes at night a tanuki (a Japanese raccoon-like creature) comes as well. Surprisingly, as if they were living in some animal utopia, the crows, the cats, and the tanuki get along because there is enough food and space for everyone.