Time does fly and my youth was gone with many obstacles and painful memories, though not every human friend that I met was bad and some friendly seniors are still trying to persuade me that I am a young person, the past decade was hardship for me. I was exiled to Japan in 2017 and stayed there for two years, trying to run away from Chinese bandits in Taiwan who kept harassing me with either political ideology or whatever the reason was. Like the street cat Bob, Youichi was friendly to me that he always showed up to welcome me or stood on the street corner to see the whole street view and people, sometimes hid from an unpredictable situation. He was mean for the first time actually, but I yelled at him on that day because I was in a bad mood. I was not supposed to do that to him, after all, he is just a cat. I thought he might not wander in the street again. Somehow, he just showed up everyday after we met by accident.
Youichi is a ginger cat, just like Bob. He eats everything and licks his hair everyday as a way to wash dirty stuff from his body. He was quite clean as a street cat, though he hated to drink water and took shower, unless he was under the rain. Sometimes I wondered whether he was adopted by somebody else. There are several shelters for street cats in Japan, which is amazing and quite convenient for cats or for people who manage the area.
Youichi was very thin when we first met, but after few months of feeding, he became bigger without picking at the foods. I was surprised because I only fed him occasionally, maybe somebody else fed him while I was away from my residence. He was quite smart and agile, maybe acted better than other feline animals. I never shed my tears in front of him, but he seemed to sense my feeling whenever I encountered difficulties. Sometimes he felt scared, especially dogs passed by with their owners. The barks from dogs with unfriendly owners, who walked dogs at the park to enjoy their free time, always makes cats disappear. One thing that impressed me is that other cats gathered around us after Youichi was barked by the unknown dog. They came to comfort and support him. For the next time, I backed Youichi when we met with a new dog, which made him fear no big deal of dogs.
Youichi slept anytime, anywhere. He moved slowly after he gaining weight; he could sleep and wake up in a sudden. Onetime that he jumped from the second floor, which surprised me the most. I taught him how to kill roaches when we saw many bugs and flies from the trash can, with many leftover from oily Chinese bento. Youichi showed me the dead roaches of his proud work after sensing my discomfort. It was a pity for the environment of residence, after I moved in, lots of Chinese came and stayed there as if I was their compatriot to lead them. The trash can was very clean without any odor, but after tons of dirty bento boxes left in the can, which attracted roaches, the odor was never gone even cleaning staff came and picked up all the trash. I had a guilty trip even though it was never my fault.
In his real life, Youichi was scared of fleeing away from his current location, though he slept randomly on the street without a certain shelter. I once tried to hug him and held him tightly, so I could bring him to new places to look around and find some new spots to stay. He refused to go with me, and even scratched my hands. I guessed that he thought I was trying to sell him. Thankfully, one day, a friendly women with her dog and cat inside the cart, walked on the street when Youichi and I were playing. He saw the animal cart and realized its purpose. Since then, he was willing to go with me, but still limited to the current area without crossing the street.
Sometimes he acted like a child and knew how to play cute. Youichi was quite comfortable sleeping on my lap, and we both enjoyed suntan on my holidays. I couldn’t believe that he actually slept without leaving for almost an hour. I felt cheerful because he trusted me. Usually he would run away and woke up in a middle of his nap, when strangers passed by or talked. But he was sleeping like a log, and I felt bad to wake him up even my laps were sour. I couldn’t believe how much weight that he had gained.
If you think cats do not have feeling, then you might be wrong. Youichi and his girlfriend, Hanako, the female cat came from nowhere but fell in love with him since they met. Whenever I was with Youichi, Hanako felt jealous about it and tried to separate us from playing, by licking his face or showing her affection for him. Youichi once stopped her, but she insisted, so he gave up. It was quite interesting to meet two cats like this. I couldn’t believe that animals had such humane behavior, sometimes I wondered who taught them to act like this.
The background of Youichi is a hybrid of British and American short hair, but I didn’t know that until the pet owner told me in Taiwan few months ago. After coming back to my country, I felt strange that no other cat is like Youichi, no matter the color or the way they act. Even though I patted on other cats with the same way that I used to call Youichi, I got no response from other feline animals. From that moment, I realized that Youichi is unique and friendly to me. Though we are parted now; his kind behavior still remains on my mind. He belonged to Tokyo with his own surviving method, so I couldn’t and shouldn’t bring him back to Taiwan. The weather, food and other local cats may harm him here.
I hope that he is doing well in Japan, and wish that he could remember me. People always say that cats are forgetful and ungrateful. They are mysterious and cunning to me. But thanks to him, my life in Tokyo was not so lonely.