After I got a “real adult” job, I promised myself that I would achieve my life-long dream of adopting a stray animal. Roughly 3 weeks after accepting my game design job in Tokyo, I decided to adopt this little guy. How? Through a wonderful resource called Japan Cat Network (JCN). Japan has an abundance of stray cats; some of which are seeking domestication. JCN is a Facebook group where people all over the country post up not only cat adoption ads, but also share anecdotes of their own pets for others to read and comment on. On a whim I posted an ad saying I was looking to adopt a sociable stray and eventually I was contacted by a person from Chiba who said they had the perfect cat for me. After several exchanges and making sure my landlord and housemates were okay with keeping an animal, I made the decision to take him into our sharehouse. I decided to call him “Leo” after my favorite Fire Emblem Awakening character.
Leo is the perfect cat for me. He can take care of himself yet is always open towards human affection such as kissing, petting, snuggling, and hugging. As a stray, he wandered the neighborhoods of Chiba meowing and trying to get in other peoples’ homes. He was always super affectionate and had a caretaker who would feed and look after him, but was unable to take him into her home. That is why she had her daughter contact me in regards to adopting him. At first, I was a bit afraid that Leo would have trouble adjusting to the house since he had always been an outdoor cat. I had done my research and bought all of the cat essentials, but was prepared for the worst. However, he adjusted to our home quite well!
When I first brought him indoors, he was very docile and tried to hide underneath the steps of our entrance. However, with time he came out, and when I brought him to my room (as pictured above), he instantly took to the blankets! He loved rubbing his paws in my bedspread and was able to cuddle next to my Neko Atsume plush. After I petted him for a while and he rubbed his scent on me, we became instant best friends. Now Leo will wait for me to get back from work and meow at me to welcome me home!
To those who want a pet but don’t necessarily have the money or time to fill out the paperwork, I definitely recommend adopting one! With proper time and care, you can form a wonderful bond with them just like any other pet. Leo doesn’t bite at all and acts like he’s been a house pet his entire life! The only negative behaviors he demonstrates are scratching at the walls to stretch and trying to run outside when the door is open, but this is normal cat behavior that can be corrected. Now that he has adjusted to the house, I let him out from time to time because he always knows to come back.
I am so happy that I have a pet to keep me company in a foreign country. He has helped me through homesickness and depression, and even when I have a bad day I always look forward to coming home to him. Words can’t describe how much he has made me a happier person. I have decided to take him wherever I go, even if I have to bribe a yakuza to help me sneak him out of the country. I will always love Leo for life! Though the vet doesn’t know his true age, they suspect he is around 4-7 by the wear on his teeth. I plan to give him a happy, and relaxing life for years to come!