Category Archives: Cat


My friend Randy hopped on his bicycle the other day to go do some shopping. He hadn’t gone far when he heard a “Meow!” and a splash. Looking toward some abandoned boats tied up at a dock, he saw a tiny kitten swimming toward shore. The kitten noticed Randy and swam toward where he was standing, which was at the top of a stone sea wall. When the kitten reached the wall, it started climbing up the barnacles growing there, but the barnacles only went up about two feet and when the kitten reached their end, he fell back into the water. But he was a persistent little tyke. He climbed the barnacles again and when he reached their end, he clung to them with both paws and his teeth.


At last I understand the expression “tooth and nail”.

Randy called his wife, saying “Come quick and bring a rope!” But lovely Junko is a rather level-headed lady who quickly decided to borrow a net from a neighbor instead. And Randy used it to fish the little man out of the water.

boy in a net

Randy and Junko already have three rescue cats as well as a couple of strays that occasionally wander into their garden looking for treats. So they put this on Facebook.

be my mommy

We debated for a while. I thought the two-people-two-cats rule still applied but Rochi wanted him. In time he admitted he wanted the kitten for me. The thing is that neither Twitchy nor Monkey Boy particularly like me. They don’t not like me, they just don’t care about me much. I can pick them up for brief cuddles and Monkey likes to wrestle, but neither one will sit on my lap. I chose Twitchy from among hundreds of cats at the shelter, but she didn’t choose me. You can’t choose your cats any more than you can choose your parents. The funny thing is that I wasn’t all that unhappy about this situation. Losing Plato five years ago was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to survive. He was my little boy. In a way, I was grateful that Twitchy and Monkey Boy are just cats, more interested in each other than in me.

Then it hit me that little man is a genuine rescue cat. We call Twitchy a rescue cat because a volunteer group found her living alone in an abandoned house inside the no-go area in Fukushima, but she didn’t see herself as being rescued. For the longest time she looked at us as if to say, “What do you want from me? Why am I here? I was doing just fine on my own drinking dirty rain water and eating worms and frogs and baby birds.” Eventually, she came to see the virtues of a full food bowl that didn’t involve gills or feathers. She never even tries to escape anymore; instead she watches the world go about its business from the safe vantage of a window sill.

So we call Twitchy a rescue cat, but in a way she isn’t. Little man is, a genuine full-blooded rescue cat who wanted to be rescued. We’ve only had him for a day but he’s already one of the sweetest little fuzz muffins I’ve ever met. I’m having to type at an awkward angle because he doesn’t want to be more than six inches away from me. Maybe having a scrape with death gave him an appreciation of life. At any rate, he looks at me with love and gratitude and it’s been a long time since anyone looked at me like that, in that pure, clean way that only an animal can. I feel the love starting to flow and I weep with gratitude. Perhaps he will rescue me back.


Yoga Cat

Exploding Kitten

Ha, ha! I think I’ll call my friends in Zimbabwe.

After a few days of shyness (or terror, take your pick), we have entered the exploding kitten phase. This happens when Little Guy experiences a sudden burst of energy so intense that it sends him flying up curtains, careening off walls and knocking over anything that gets in his way. This is caused by the spaz-o-kat hormone which kicks in at this stage. Not even the most powerful tranquilizer can undo its effects. It’s like he has chugged 27 cups of coffee followed by a couple of toots of cocaine, a Snickers bar and several large lollipops. All we can do is let it run its course until the fire burns out and he falls into a deep and lasting sleep a la Snow White, although, ironically, he himself is the handsome prince.

Twitch is unimpressed and looks on with extreme disapproval.

Harrumph. The things I have to put up with!

Baby Teeth


Little Guy has been with us for over a week and we all survived. Although we still haven’t come up with a real name for him, we’ve made a lot of progress in other areas. He has a healthy appetite and took to the litter pan with no fuss at all. We had to keep him separate from Twitchy until we could get him tested for AIDS, which we did yesterday. He’s negative. Many street cats are not. We are lucky people.

The first couple of days, he would skibble across the floor on his tummy, terrified, elbows and knees pulled into his body, so we thought he was part weasel or dachshund, but once he relaxed we could see that he is normal cat shaped.

He chews on my fingers while he’s rolling around in my lap. Then he tears around the room chasing his toys. And he does acrobatics, leaping from the window sill to the stool to the desk, hanging by his claws from the back of my sweater. Then, just like a baby, he passes out and sleeps and sleeps.

There is so much power in such a small package; I can pick him up with one hand. Just last week, I thought of Twitchy as a relatively small cat, but suddenly she’s huge.  Little Guy is a tiny ball of furry perfection that gives me perspective on what does–and does not–really matter.

Thank you, Universe. He’s just what I needed.


Little Guy

The garden at Randy and Junko’s house is apparently a magnet for stray cats. They have adopted four strays already, and more appear all the time. They have not, however, crossed over into crazy cat people territory, so when the new ones appear, they try to find homes for them elsewhere.

Randy has offered us a couple, but we barely survived the trauma of turning Twitchy into a civilized beast. Then Little Guy and his momma (Randy’s from Alabama) appeared in the garden a few days ago. We had been thinking that Twitchy is doing pretty well now and needs a little brother to play with. Little Guy’s extraordinary coloring and soulful eyes made both our hearts go pitty-pat.

Little Guy

Long story short, via bicycles and trains, he found himself at our house. And about four hours later, he disappeared into thin air. I wasn’t too concerned that night; cats are good hiders and can easily go 24 hours without eating. But we still couldn’t find him the next morning. We scoured the house but there was no trace. We thought he might have gotten out somehow, so looked around the neighborhood, but quickly realized how futile that was. Even on the vague chance we could spot him, we’d never be able to catch him.

We became convinced that he was gone and we were the worst human beings on the planet. We had torn him from his momma, transported him halfway across the universe to what we termed a ‘better’ life, and then let his tiny self escape, alone in an unfamiliar, dark, cold world.

Then Junko had an idea. Momma was still wandering around the garden, crying for her lost baby. Randy recorded her voice and sent it to my phone. I walked around the house broadcasting that forlorn voice, not expecting anything to happen. But when I aimed it  at the bathroom, there was an immediate response: equally forlorn, echoing and eerie.

I had a moment of panic. The bath is tiled floor to ceiling. Where the hell was the voice coming from?

Then we discovered a small gap between the panel on the side of the tub and the drain in the floor, just enough space for him to wiggle through. It took some work but we got him out and moved him to a room upstairs, this room, where I sit typing. He is fed, warm, safe.

The thing is that, after fighting against it for years, I had just gotten the smart phone on Saturday. Little Guy came to stay on Sunday, and I used the phone to locate him on Monday. Two days before, I did not have the technology to do that. We might never have found him. He could easily have died in there, wedged between the tub and the wall, and we would have been none the wiser…until there was a smell.

I have grown to resent the way technology is taking over our lives. While making things more convenient it also isolates us from each other. We are increasingly becoming solitary islands connected only through the airwaves. But that same technology brought Momma’s voice into my bathroom and probably saved Little Guy’s life.

I can’t help feeling humbled.

Meditation Cat Says…


Be still. Be quiet.
And stop licking my face.

The doors to enlightenment do not open
to wiggly chatterboxes
and you have tuna breath.

Twitchy twitched her whiskers as she weighed the price of achieving nirvana, slightly resented the tuna breath comment, then blinked her eyes and curled up on the cushion. “It does not matter,” she thought as she drifted into sleep. “I will dream my dreams and when I wake, I will stretch and purr and play with my toys and if my breath smells of tuna it means my belly is full and I am happy. Who could want or need more than that?”

Finding Balance

Give me tuna or prepare yourself for the consequences.
 Give me tuna. Now. There is no “or else”.

There’s something going on in the balance of the celestial energy and it’s having a perverse effect on me. I think it began in June when Twitchy arrived. I’ve lived with cats on and off for most of my life, but had never taken on a feral one. Neither of us had any idea what we were getting ourselves into. People who have recently quit smoking should not be expected to have this amount of patience, but six months later, we’ve come a long way. I have very few scratches on my hands and arms, she hasn’t peed in the bed in ages, and when she’s in the mood, she’s almost aggressively cuddly. This is GOOD.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERALast week, Karlina came to visit. We’ve known each other for about fifteen years but had never met, I had never even heard her voice. She was my main contact at Sesame Workshop when I was liaison between New York and NHK. As she put it, she inherited me when Veronica (who it turns out is NOT Jewish) got promoted and we were in nearly daily contact by email. She’s been going to Cambodia, where she does good things, now and then for the past ten years and decided to drop by on the way home. We had a grand time, as I knew we would. This is GOOD.

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve also started going to the theater again. I love the theater but had been badly disappointed and painfully overcharged a few times in recent years so pretty much gave up. I knew there was English language community theater, but assumed it was a bunch of ex-pat housewives with zero talent and too much time on their hands. I was wrong. There are some truly gifted actors out there doing it simply for the love of the art and I’ve been lucky to see a good bit of it in the past year. Pictured above is the lovely and talented Rachel Walzer who recently appeared in God of Carnage. I’ve had the pleasure of directing her in narrations but had never seen her perform live. She was GOOD.

A friend and I had a discussion about whether there is energy because there is life or there is life because there is energy. I’m a supporter of the former; I believe energy is created when life begins. My friend believes energy continues when life no longer exists. I’m starting to think maybe he’s right, but not in a reincarnation sort of sense. Maybe when life is gone, its energy goes someplace else. Maybe it does create new life. That’s possible, but maybe it does something else. It might become an idea or inspire someone to do something great. Maybe it makes the bread rise or the rain fall or the flowers bloom or the sun set. Or maybe it inspires just the right amount of empathy and kindness at just the right time to make a difference in someone’s life. That would be GREAT.

Baby Steps

PENTAX DIGITAL CAMERA As of yesterday, I am five months smoke free. (Pause for applause. “Thank you, thank you very much,” she says in her best Elvis voice.) And I’ve finally got some time off from work, so I have devoted this week to exercise. On Monday, I did Pilates and a step class at the gym. On Tuesday, I started a 30 day squat challenge. On Wednesday, I had my first yoga lesson with Kelly, who is a wonderful person, teacher and addition to my life. On Thursday, I did boxing and kicking classes at the dojo.

When I woke up this morning, I could barely move. My sore muscles have sore muscles, but I feel wonderful. One of the side effects of detox is sometimes crippling depression. This is normal and people quit longer than me keep saying it will pass in time, I just need to stay strong, take deep breaths, wait it out.

I hadn’t been to kicking class, and consequently hadn’t seen Sensei, for a couple of months. Part way through class, he looked at me and said, “Eda-san, you’re different. You’ve changed, and not in a bad way.” I just smiled, but I knew what he meant. As I work my way out of my nicotine-addled funk, I am discovering a whole other Eda I had forgotten about. She’s smarter, funnier, prettier because she smiles more. She’s gentler, kinder, more at peace.

The battle isn’t over yet, probably never will be. The nicodemon still lurks in dark corners and leaps out at me, much the way Twitchy attacks my toes at unexpected moments, but I can swat him away the same way I do her. The depression monster still wraps himself around my throat and squeezes, but it’s happening less often. Instead, in recent days, I have unexpected moments of happiness. I can’t think of anything to call it besides joy. I am finally free of that wretched addiction and can start to make my way down the path toward discovering myself and who I am without the chemicals.

It’s a journey that requires no suitcases, taxis, passports, visas, or plane tickets and all of the travel takes place inside my own head, but the destination is worth every iota of effort and pain it takes to get there.

Death by Noise

140916_1511~01A few months ago, the Powers That Be tore down two old houses next to mine, subdivided the land into three small plots, and construction has begun on two of them.

This is how I’m going to die.

They, or rather, one guy with a staple gun, started a few weeks ago on the furthest away. It’s the most gawd awful cheap construction, nothing but a pile of plywood boxes held together with staples. They built some like that near where I used to live and there were cracks in the outside walls before the owners had even moved in. Most likely this house will fall down long before the owners can finish paying for it. I guess you get what you pay for, but still, I feel bad for them.

Work started on the closest plot a few days ago, two guys this time, with the obligatory staple gun, plus a nail gun. Everything is being done with power tools. Gone is the sound of a hammer hitting a nail. Instead of Dueling Banjos, we have dueling staple guns, a fast forward kacha-kacha-kacha attack on the senses, not unlike a woodpecker attacking a tree, without any of the charm.

No more the gentle voo-bah, voo-bah of Bill Cosby’s Noah building the ark. Instead they have electric handsaws that produce a high pitched screeching whine that is threatening to rip my brain out through my ear canals. Take the sound of a dentist’s drill, amplify by a thousand, and don’t forget the delightful way the sound goes on and on as it ricochets off the surrounding houses.

One of the guys is bronzed and muscled and had an attractive dusting of sawdust on his black tank top today. That didn’t stop me wanting to go test my kick boxing skills on him. I fantasize that they will suddenly see the light, lay down their tools, and join the peace corps. Don’t they realize I only quit smoking a few months ago? Don’t they know I’m living with a crazed feline who attacks my feet when I’m asleep and produces poo more pungent than the chicken I left in my gym bag last summer? How much patience am I expected to have?

Twitchy News

PT360001This morning, for the first time, the Twitch got into bed with me, but she didn’t want to cuddle or sleep. She wanted to twitch. Fortunately, it was cold enough for a thick blanket, so it didn’t hurt when she started attacking my legs and feet. I didn’t fight back. After about ten minutes, she got bored and left.

I am hoping this means she is starting to see the futon as a place to play rather than a place to pee. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow would be that she sees it as a place to sleep–cats don’t pee where they sleep. And tiny unicorns will tap dance on my pillow and sing jasmine scented lullabies if she decides to cuddle.

Turning her into a house cat is an involved process, much like quitting smoking. I haven’t had a single puff in more than four months, yet all day yesterday I could taste tobacco on my breath. I know it was coming from my head and not my lungs and was probably related to work stress, but that didn’t make it any less real.

I have a theory that around the time the Twitchster starts acting like a normal house cat, I’ll finally start feeling like a non-smoker.

Wish us luck. I’m pretty confident both of those things are going to happen, but we could use all the karma we can muster. I promise chocolate covered brownie points in return for any happy thoughts sent our way.


Moments after I published yesterday’s post, Twitchy peed on Rochi’s side of the futon. Frankly, the bitch in me was pleased. It hurt when she peed on my pillow. If she peed on his side, at least she hates us equally.

But seriously, this was becoming a major problem. I scoured the interwebs looking for a magic bean solution, but nothing seemed to fit. She’s not marking territory, she doesn’t feel threatened, there’s no competition with other cats, we haven’t changed either our routines or what we feed her. I was stumped…and really, really bummed. It’s one thing to clean up cat pee from the floor, but the futon?

Then Rochi suggested that maybe as she’s getting more relaxed and comfortable about living with us, she may be reverting to her old ways. When she lived alone in Fukushima, she probably peed wherever she felt like it. Then I found a site that suggested she may just be lazy. Hmmm. We were told she’s somewhere between one and two years old. In Cat World, that makes her a teenager, and who is lazier than a teenager? Imagine: she’s sleeping on the window sill in the bedroom and wakes up needing to pee. Why go all the way downstairs when there’s a nice soft thing right there to pee on?

So we set up a temporary litter pan by the futon, and glory be, she used it twice last night and has stayed away from the futon all day. Plato and Dana shared one litter pan their entire lives and never had a problem or an accident, so it never occurred to me that Twitchy might need two, the greedy little thing.

So what have we learned? She’s a lazy, greedy, out of focus slut. Come to think of it, that sounds a bit like me at her age. Perhaps we’re better suited to each other than I realized.

At any rate, yesterday I was feeling depressed, bruised and beaten.

Today I feel like this:

cat unicorn