by Kiyasu Oka
Matcha Latte with Honey
I once had a cat whose name is “Kitty.”
But I didn’t own her like “every other” cat owners do.
But still, she is the most important cat to me in the world, and she trusted me like a real owner… and I trusted her back. I still think it is the most beautiful cat-and-human relationship I ever had.
How did this story unfold? Let me tell you… our story.
The house I used to live in had a yard with a swimming pool.
During the night, wild cats would visit. And I do mean wild unfriendly cats.
When I moved in here the first day, our landlord had a dog. When that dog was there, no wild cats will come close to our swimming pool, but they might still quickly pass through the wider grass area of our yard.
One day a wild cat came walking into our yard.
Usually wild cats are unfriendly and when you “meow” at them, they might stare at you or become cautious around you (and then run away).
However, this cat was different.
I “meowed” at it, and it meowed back… wiggling its tail a bit. The instant I “meowed” at it, it comes running close to me.
I started to pet it, and it “purred” and enjoys my accompany. It came close to me and rubbed its fur along my skin.
It was so friendly… even though it was only a wild cat.
Ever since that day, the cat has slept here overnight, and on the days that it doesn’t stay, I *know* he or she will come back soon.
A wild cat became our pet, and we feed it food every day. While it stayed in our yard and never entered the house, it was still a real pet. Even though we never took it to the vet or anything “real” cat owners do except for feeding it food, it was still in every way a real pet.
I wondered on numerous occasions, though, why is this cat so friendly, even though it is wild?
Did it have a previous owner who abandoned her? A previous owner whom she trusted and yet abandoned her in the end? It makes me feel all sorts of feelings when I think about whether this could be the case.
Yet, this cat is still so loyal and trusting of humans like me, if the case of such a previous owner is true. I would think about this kind of thing.
I had a turtle when I was in elementary school, whom I “killed.” I put the turtle on my desk, and it walked to the edge and falls down. This happened quite a few times. Then, one day, the turtle died. It felt it was my “fault” that I “killed” in elementary school.
Then I had a fish around middle school, whom I received from an event at school as a prize. One day it suddenly started to act strange and would NOT eat any of the food we gave it. It would constantly jump outside of its water “cup” and we would find it on the floor many times. Then we would put the fish back into its water “cup.” It was starting to be abnormal so much…
One day when we finally decided to set this fish into a river. The moment we set it free, I saw something so fascinating: the instant it started to enter the river water, it was almost as if its body starts to change completely! Then it started to swim normally… it was almost as if all of that jumping outside of its water “cup” onto our living room floor and NOT eating ANY food was a kind of “suicide act” – perhaps also it did not want to trust humans.
With pet stories like these, as well as the times I would murder ants in elementary, it reaches my heart to know that this wild cat, that maybe another “trustworthy” human abandoned and “betrayed” in the end, would trust me like nothing has ever happened with other humans in the past.
I loved my cat so much.
It is “small” things like these that help me realize the beauty of never giving up on trusting another person, even if you don’t know them at all.
It is the ONE time in my yard when we accidentally bumped into this gigantic spider web with a large yellow and black spider in the middle… too.
At that time I was “naïve” and didn’t think about whether it could be deadly poisonous or not, so we tried to use a wooden stick to “tackle” its web and take a photo of a “special-looking spider.” During all of this time of being near its web and “destroying” it and making the spider go on the stick and then we “toss” it into the wall areas near the way back of our yard, it did not do anything.
I sometimes look back at this and wonder whether it could have spat out some kind of poison.
Yet, it didn’t.
… almost as if it simply trusted me, a human who has “murdered” past pets before.
This cat and that spider, still remain somewhere deep inside my heart, a treasure of memory that I grew up with.
The memories of my cat, even though it is wild, have a deep place in my heart.
The story of a possibly abandoned cat still being so friendly to humans, even though it may have been living a wild cat’s life for years. WHY is this cat still so friendly to me and other humans? Did it not think about its lonely life as a wild cat for possibly years?
I spent about one and a half years with this cat, until the news came: our family had to leave the location and immigrate to another country.
That was when it is time to… abandon… this cat. To suddenly disappear one day. To suddenly… “betray” my cat.
And maybe the landlord will move back in with his dog, and therefore this cat may never have its home again.
This happened around the earlier 2000s. It is now 2020. I wondered what the life of our cat became after the day he loyally comes to visit our yard, expecting me to come and pet, but find that I am nowhere to be seen again. No more food. No more sleeping space. And maybe the landlord’s dog shooed it away.
Maybe it might be a nightmare for that cat to “return home” to the… news.
I wonder what Kitty thought that day. I wonder what Kitty felt that day. I wonder whether Kitty might have decided that I betrayed her, I abandoned her, I [insert more possibilities here]. I wonder whether Kitty might have thought I passed away. (Do cats think or feel these things?!) Could that day my landlord’s dog decide to take over again be one of the most traumatic days of my cat’s life? That I suddenly disappeared and left it with no home again? Could Kitty even have possibly died soon after that? Who knows…?
So many thoughts and feelings in my head…. so many worries, so many “I wonder whether I should have”s, so much sadness.
Would other humans be as “thoughtful” to have given a wild cat a home? It didn’t look like it had a home for so long… this wild, brave cat, who was possibly abandoned for years, came to respond to my “meow” and become my friend.
It came, it stayed, it slept, it got fed, and it spent hours with me – being touched and rubbing against my skin.
It trusted me so much. It made my yard her home, with only one gesture of “meow” from me!
How many wild cats would do that?
Fast forward to 2010, there was a wild cat who was also very friendly and LOOKED like the cat I “owned.” It would respond similarly to humans. I heard news that it was once an owned cat but later abandoned. It would stay near the residence area and I heard that a woman nearby took care of these wild cats… sort of.
Fast forward a year after that…. I saw this cat have a kind of cut-off ear and a portion of his tail. What happened to it?
It was still friendly to humans, but, really, what happened?
I was worried about this wild cat, and it certainly reminded me of Kitty. They both looked very similar. I don’t know the name of the kind of cat, but they do look alike. But Kitty was in the United States and this one is in Taiwan…
I just wondered whether this cat got into an industrial accident, thus explaining its sort-of cut-off tail and ear. Yet it is still so friendly to humans.
I… don’t know… but I hope Kitty is all right. I hope this other cat is all right. I wonder how these wild cats are doing. Kitty was “owned” by me but this other one was only a friendly wild cat that “nobody” really “truly” owns but shows up in the area, even though I heard some woman takes care of some wild cats in the area.
Kitty, where are you? Are you alive? What did you think of me after I “betrayed” you?
Wherever you are, whatever happened, I hope you still like me.
I hope you still remember me.
I cherish our times together. You have always been a real pet to me (even though I don’t do anything except only feed you food and pet you). And I hope you cherish it, too.
But mostly importantly: I hope you…. remember me, whether you are still alive or not.
I hope you still think about me from time to time. I hope my existence still has a place inside you.
Thanks for all of our memories, and for the friendliness you showed me. Thanks for trusting me all along, and I am sorry I could not stay any longer and maybe “betrayed” you like your previous owner did, if you were abandoned. I am sorry for the nightmare day of the dog taking over… and for you having to experience not being able to sleep at our place any more, or have any more free food.
I hope you lived well after… though… I am… sorry.
Wherever you are, I still think of you fondly, and I still remember you.
And I hope you remember me, too.
Thanks for all the beautiful lessons and experiences you showed me, Kitty.
Even though you were a wild cat who stayed at my place like a real pet, you are the most important pet I had during those years of my life. One of my most important friends, too.
Wherever you are, Kitty, I hope you remember our memories, our love, and our friendship.
Thank you for inspiring a human like me on how to trust others. I couldn’t be more grateful.
About the author
KIYASU OKA is a Taiwanese professional illustrator and entrepreneur, whose title can be referred to as a professional color magician. She is the “Magician of Color” from Taiwan. Her most well-known writing work is a love letter called “Taiwan is my Country” (2016). Kiyasu Oka’s Web site is at www.kiyasugreen.com.