December, 2015

This page is written monthly
by Harumi Okochi.
Sometimes Harumi's friends join.
We'd be happy if you look at
our previous issues.


Harumi's wooden cat


Touch me,
It is so easy to leave me
All alone with the memory
Of my days in the sun
If you'll touch me,
You'll understand what happiness is
Look, a new day has begun...

                                 From  ' Memory ' of Musical "Cats"

  Do you like cats?
If not, please skip this page, and come back next month.
If Yes, you will enjoy this heart-warming story.
Mr. and Mrs. Kunihisa Matsuo are parents of 8 cats. They live on a mountain, and gradually cats increased in their house. At last, their house became full of cats, and Mr. Matsuo decided to build a new house for cats.

Please meet their cats and have a look at their Cat House.

                                Yuko         Kunihisa

 Life with cats
Kunihisa and Yuko Matsuo


   When I was a child, we had a Christmas tree in every December.
A cedar branch was cut from the grove which Father planted around our vegetable fields.
On the Christmas morning when I was 5, I woke up and found a puppy under the Christmas tree. It was Father's gift for a boy who did not have a friend to play with, living only by ourselves on the mountain.
Since then, I grew up with my puppy Kuma.
Kuma and Kunihisa
 Mii Mom
 After that our family always had dogs.
But one year, in November, our last dog Taro died. And then suddenly, a cat came to our house, from where nobody knew.
Since then, we have lived with cats.
The next year, Mii had 6 babies and became Mii Mom. Mii Mom lived for 19 years with us, and died.
Chobi and Miiko are children of Mii Mom.
Mii, when she first came to us. (1 year old)
Mii, 18 years old
Our cats family
 'Ten', meaning 'top', is named so because she had a black spot on top of her head.
The newest comer, the biggest, the most active cat. This is one of the three kittens which Nya, an alley-cat, bore on the mountain. This kitten was injured at her leg, and mother Nya left her for my care, saying "please help my baby" with her eyes. Ten was limp for some time, but she has recovered now and runs about everywhere.
Our youngest 'Ten'
Ten's mother and her siblings
 The second youngest is Momiji. She is the prettiest. And she is the biggest eater. She wants us to play with her.
"Momiji" means 'red maple leaves'. We named her so because she was one of the three kittens forsaken before our house in the season of red maple leaves. She was very small and we fed her milk. Milking once in an hour during the night made my wife sleepless and uneasy.
Now Momiji is quite healthy and her two siblings are well in other places.
Momiji 4 years old Girl
 We found Tama on the roadside of our mountain. It was just after our Mii's death. It seemed to us that this kitten is the reincarnation of our Mii.
So we tried to take her home. But she was cautious and would not follow us. 4 days later, she came to us in a weak, dying shape. She has been weak all the time, and even now she often goes to hospital. She is quiet, and we hardly hear her mewing.
But, she is the one who grew up Momiji instead of the true mother.
Tama 5 years old Girl
 "Natsu", meaning "summer" was found alive beside several dead cats in the tangerine orchard of the mountain on a high summer day. She was born strong, so she was the only one which survived the cruel heat then. Since then, she has been always strong. She likes scratching my belly. Many scars on my body! She often sleeps going under the sofa cover. My wife sits on it, and you can imagine what happens then.
Natsu 6 years old Girl
 Sayo is the first kitten who came to us from another human family. She came from a cafe in the neighboring town. She resembles our Chobi, so we decided to take her home. She likes going out. When she meets another cat on the street, she changes like the movie Gremlins. Driving is her favorite pastime. We take her in our car when we go down the mountain. When she was a baby, Chobi was her mom.
Sayo when baby
Sayo 16 years old Girl
 Chobi has a small black spot on the nose. White socks and white tail-end. Oldest of the family. 21 years old. She is Mii's only child that survives still now. She is as powerful as ever, being the 'God Sister' of the family. Our family's baby kittens have been always taken care of by this Chobi.
Chobi 21 yeras old Girl
 Building Nyannko House
 This is Chobi's sister Miiko. She died this summer at the age of 21. One year ago, she got weak suddenly. Her care life continued half a year. She became blind, and was often stuck in a small space. She needed diapers, too. I thought we need a spacious house for our old cats.
This is the reason for building a cat house. At the end of July, I set off. In the heat I made foundation. But in August I fell down from the stairs and could not move for some days. I had nobody to help me, so it took a long time to finish it. At the end of September, the house was completed, but it was too late. Miiko died in August. She could not see her new house. I named the house Nyannko House. Nyannko means kittens. How I miss Miiko!
Miko 19yrs

July 21, 2015 Started the foundation

July 28 Started flooring.
August 10 Roof was completed.
August 19 Walls

August 26 Terrace Deck 
September 9 Outside walls completed.
September 16 Putting nets around the deck
September 25 Floor was finished.
September 29 Beds were attached to the wall.
New life started in the Cat House.
Enjoying comfortable terrace.
Good night, babies. Have a nice dream.
 Winter has come.
Now cats are sleeping in their own beds.
Air-conditioner has been installed, but this year, winter is not as cold as before.
On sunny days the room temperature goes up higher than 20℃.
Cats are happy and safe now in their new castle.
But, in the morning, we wake up and find all our children gathering around Mom's bed!
Their paradise is here!
Should I go and sleep in the cat house instead?

Thank you, Matsuo-san. Your children are quite charming. They are happy with you, and you are happy with them.
Even though, I am afraid...... or I hope, No MORE cat babies are left on your mountain!

Thank you, readers.
Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy new year, I say good bye for this year.

Thank you very much for joining me.
I hope you will visit us again next month.

 Mail to Harumi Okochi