Life in the Land of the Rising Sun

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Fuzzy Generation Gap

My in-laws' cat, Aka, used to be the undisputed master of the territory. That big, lovable, orange lump of feline charm was a never-ending fountain of affection. He would greet everyone he saw with his distinctive, rich, "Maaaaaaaaooow," as he came trotting over for a scratch, often wrapping himself around your leg so you couldn't escape very easily until he was satisfied. However, if any of the other cats in the neighborhood dared enter our yard (except for one or two that were friendly and therefore "authorized"), he'd quickly turn from lovable lunk to killing machine and send the intruders on their way.

Well, he's still big, still orange, still lovable, and still aggressively affectionate. However, he's also an old man. Already past 14, he just doesn't move as fast as he used to. He also seems to be having a bit of an upper respiratory problem, so he wheezes a lot and can't run for very long. The local tomcats found that out quickly, and our yard quickly became a sort of meeting ground where they'd come and taunt Aka, strutting around him meowing with their tails held high, daring him to do anything about it before they turned and started fighting each other. I started doing my best to chase those yob-cats away with the help of my good friends Smith and Wesson (a plastic model that shoots BBs), but there is no way to keep them away completely.

That presented a bit of a problem regarding the newest member of our family, that little, black tabby named Tora. I was afraid to let him outside mainly because I was worried about what the neighborhood tomcats would do to him. However, once he got to be more than two months old, the house was clearly too small for him. He started tearing around the place like a fuzzy, tiger-striped tornado. He also started tearing up everything around him (including clothes, furniture, walls, sliding partitions, cords, you name it). His cuteness and affection kept us from tossing him into the lake, but it got to be a bit much. Therefore, when the neighborhood cats started showing up less (thanks to S&W?), I quickly started putting him outside. He loved it out there; endless opportunities for play and exploration and lots of room to run. It actually came to be difficult to get him to come back in again! His behavior in the house soon improved, and he became even friendlier. Meanwhile, there was not an alien cat in sight.

However, we all knew the inevitable meeting between Tora and Aka would come sooner if not later.

The first time Tora saw Aka, he immediately put on an impressive, dancing display with his back arched, hissing and spitting. Aka, on the other hand, just stared at the little newcomer for a little while and then started casually sauntering toward him. Tora quickly bolted into the house before that intimidating, red giant came anywhere near him. Aka then started spending lots of time sitting on our front porch listening and sniffing. He also started marking (i.e. peeing on) everything in the yard (including our shoes).

The second meeting was quite a bit different. Tora had apparently decided Aka wasn't a threat, so he decided to try to be friends. He started following his much-larger stepcousin around giving a cute, trilling cry, occasionally batting at Aka's tail in an attempt to get him to play. Aka for the most part just tried to ignore his new tormentor. He'd just stroll around keeping his annoyed-looking face turned away from the bouncy youngster. Every once in a while he'd turn and give a single, low, hoarse "MRAAAAAAWR..." as if to say, "Buzz off, punk!" On one occassion he gave Tora a very gentle swat, but he never did anything more aggressive than that. He mainly just bore the torture in silence...sitting with his back to us to show his displeasure if we gave the little cat any attention at all.

On one occasion when one of the neighborhood tomcats actually did show up, however, Aka immediately planted himself between Tora and the intruder and put on an aggressive display the likes of which I hadn't seen in a long time. It surprised the tomcat, too; normally it wouldn't be intimidated by Aka, but it shrank into a fuzz-puddle and shuffled away immediately. Tora then trilled as if to say thank you, charged Aka, and batted his tail. Aka responded with an irritable "MRAAAAAAAAWR" and slowly trudged away.

Aka has turned into a crotchety, old man, but he still knows who's family, and he's still apparently a sucker for hard luck cases.

4 Comments:

  • Moody, please do us a big favor and post pictures of Aka and Tora. They should look adorable together. Reminds me of Dennis the menace and his uncle.

    By Blogger agus, at 4:44 PM  

  • Has Aka treed any black bears lately? Sounds like he could if he thought it necessary. Good boy.

    By Blogger Pandabonium, at 8:42 AM  

  • Animals have their inwardness and emotions; they know how to get along well with each other. ‘cuz Aka and Tora are family members (though lives in different house) as well as their hosts.

    Umm…I can imagine Aka must has a funny resemblance to Garfield-Cat, isn’t it?

    By Anonymous L.C_D, at 10:45 AM  

  • aaahhhh, what an adorable story! Reminds me of when I had Baby (long time ago) and adopted a new kitty, brought the kitty home and he acted just like Aka. I hope they become the best of pals. Can't wait to read more stories about them in the future!

    By Blogger tooners, at 5:58 PM  

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