Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Introducing the Hairy (Tailed) Son - T-kun

It's perhaps overdue for me to introduce the dark-horse of our family. Our hairy son. Who is also, seriously, half horse. His name... well... let's just call him T-kun (we can't have him having a real name, now can we). He's about 7 years old, and came into our family shortly after we were married. My wife is a crazy cat fan, and has had many cats back home in Sapporo... so it was perhaps only natural that we bought a pet cat. I have to admit that I'm more of a dog person, but was easily won over by T-kun's personality.
The First Meeting...May, 2004
Since that time, he's grown to be very much apart of our family - and a source of constant delight, and he does have a fair bit of personality. However, I have to admit that cats are definitely a universe-unto-themselves most of the time. Their attraction is perhaps something that will never really translate to the relationship to a dog for example - but in many ways it's a relationship between equals. I'm sure many cats would suggest that it's far from equality however, and will never let you forget it.

T-kun's characteristics:
  • Loves sleep (he is a cat after all)
  • Has a unhealthy obsession with Daddy's pants - made even more disturbing when combined with the first point.
  • He also loves his food, and despite the fact that the pet-shop said he'd be a small cat, he's proven both them and countless diet attempts, false. He's just big boned.
  • Will often sleep laying on his back...very strange to see. I wonder if it's because his belly is so large?
  • Used to love momi-momi... our term for his using Daddy as a pin-cushion in the morning (in a very loving way). And by that I mean, that was his own variation on alarm clock. And initially I did get very alarmed by it.
  • Makes a very loud goro-goro (the Japanese sound-ism for purring )... what a soothing sound...[see note below]

More Traits
  • Has almost no hunting instinct (unless you're talking toy mouse). He does occasionally catch insects, but will often just sit on the back lawn watching the birds playing (and teasing him).
  • Following on from the previous point - he has almost no ability at jumping, and by and large is a very clumsy cat (there's nothing more sad, or funny, than seeing a cat fall off a bed for no reason)
  • He's a indoor - backyard cat. We don't really like when cats are let to roam - especially when it comes to their typical tendencies to hunt. Yes - it may be denying their inherent hunter natures, but them are the rules in our house.
  • The other aspect of that is that he's no longer shooting with real bullets (if you get my drift) and has been micro-chipped.
  • He's only really been "free" a couple of times through a gap in the fence... and even then he just spent the night no more than 5 metres away from the front door (even though we were looking for him and calling out to him for a long time). Let's face it... he's a coward - but in a good way.
  • He is however, incredibly tolerant of our son's attention (and chasing)
  • He loves company, and will follow T-chan around, even when she's doing her Zumba.

He has beautifully soft feet - and very rarely uses his claws. I did have the misfortune of one day closing my clothes drawer without realising he was standing up underneath... which lead to his front paws getting caught in the drawer. Let's just say that I did experience the other side of his cute feet that day... though it was only from his initial attempt to get out of the drawer. Ouch. On both counts.

The best thing about T-kun however is that he's always there to lend a hand (or paw), and will often reach out his leg to touch your face or hand in such a gentle way. He is, after all, not only our hairy son... but also our friend in life.

It's for this reason therefore that it's always extra difficult to do our annual migration over to Japan... cats are generally not good at being re-located, and we can't stand the idea of him being in a cattery for 2-4 weeks at a time. So that always becomes a very important part of our travel plans... how to have T-kun looked after whilst we're away. I have to admit that we've relied very heavily on both friends and my brother to help out. You don't necessarily think of these things when you first get a pet... and in truth we sometimes wished we could have more freedom to travel. Yet - every time he reaches out with his paw... how can anyone really regret? 

Language Note: Japanese go absolutely nuts over words that convey impressions, or in this case reflect the sound of things. In this case, goro-goro is meant to sound like a cat purring. This sound-wording is called onomatopeia... but it's worse in Japan as these repeated word combinations are used to describe just about anything such as smooth = tsuru-tsuru, clean = pika-pika, and sparkle = kira-kira. Actually, the list is almost boundless - and I'm sure there are location dependent versions... and this most probably will be the source of another blog later on.

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