Summer is Coming!

Today was the first day this year with more than 30 degrees! In other words: summer has officially started in Kyoto. My windows can stay open now, the duvet from my bed is on standby while I’m using the covers only (pyjamas will become optional in a few more weeks), and I’m looking into buying special summer items that dissipate heat.

Interestingly, I really didn’t need to check the thermometer to deduce that it’s summer now. I found out by a simple fact: Pumpkin is sleeping on my desk now.

Yesterday evening, he still squeezed behind me on my office chair (Side note: how come cats always use up 50% of your space, no matter what size it is?) but today, he prefers the cool wood of the desk in the coolest room of the house.

To be perfectly honest, it does annoy me a little. He has absolutely no business being so cute, and when he’s sleeping right next to me, I feel like canoodling him every 30 seconds or so. Goodness, I have stuff to do!

Sleeping Spots

  • 1 cat tree
  • 3 kitty beds
  • 1 stool with his favourite blanket
  • 2 zabuton
  • and my bed, of course.

Pumpkin could sleep in all these places. But where does he sleep?

On my fleece jacket.

Cats, eh?

Cooling Down

Kyoto is slowly cooling down. The many cherry trees along the Kamogawa river show their best autumn leaves already, even though the momiji are still far off. The last week or so there were wonderful sunny days with blue skies, truly picture perfect. The evenings can get pretty chilly, though, and I now, somewhat reluctantly, close my windows during the night.

Unfortunately, my office is on the northern side of the house and can get quite cool even during the day. In the afternoon, when both living rooms are sunny and much warmer, I go there to work, but I return to the office in the evening since it is the smallest room downstairs and easiest to heat. Before you’re asking: yes, I’m heating here already, on occasion, when my fingers get too cold while typing.

Pumpkin now finds the warmest spots in the house. In the morning he sits on his kitty tower surveying the neighborhood. Afternoons see him curled up in my bed, on top of the duvet, and he only leaves when it’s getting dark. Then, he sleeps on his own bed in the shelf until it’s time for me to go to bed too. He now likes to sleep with me, under the covers, and it’s really cute when he comes up to the cushion and scratches carefully, so I’ll let him inside. Unfortunately, he has the habit of sleeping across the bed and with his head sticking out of the covers. Right now, that this creates a hole in my warm cave is not a problem, but when the nights get even colder, I may have to find a workaround…

Pet Panic

On Monday, Pumpkin, miaowing loudly, woke me up at 6 in the morning. I wanted to ignore it as usual (that’s how you train your cat to let you sleep), but then he started retching… I made it just in time to lay out some tissues before he vomited. No big deal, cats spit out hairballs all the time, and he’s losing a lot of fur at the moment, courtesy of the summer heat.

But when he walked away dizzily and fell over his own paws, I got concerned. Even more so when he was panting and drooling heavily. Then he stood completely still for a while, totally spaced out. When I wanted to pick him up and comfort him, he growled at me. That’s when I got seriously worried.

Thankfully, Pumpkin found his bearings after 10 minutes or so, and when he went downstairs to lie in his favourite spot, I followed him and took a quick shower, just in case we’d have to go and see the vet on short notice. But his breathing had calmed and his ears and nose felt cool when I came out of the bathroom. I kept an eye on him all day, but he had no further problems.

I have no idea what might have happened. Pumpkin only gets wet food for breakfast, and the dry food I give him the rest of the day doesn’t spoil (not over night, at least). My only guess is that he might have eaten a bug or a spider, thus the signs of poisoning. The house is old, who knows what kind of critters hide here, only to come out at night.

By now he has fully recovered. And as you can see, he’s back to training for his next performance as contortionist… I just hope he’ll stick to the food I put in his bowl from now on.

My Hero

Pumpkin and I have lived together now for 5 months, and we got to know each other better during this time.

His favourite pastime is to sit at the window in my office and look outside, growling at the neighbors and passersby. But when they notice him and look at him, he runs away immediately. That’s why I like to diss my dear kitty as “my hero”, but in fact, he is so much braver than I gave him credit for.

Last month, we went to the vet. With 12 years of age, Pumpkin already counts as a senior, so regular checkups are a must. (Spoiler: he’s healthy – even healthier than I am.) So, my friend came by with her car and pet carrier to bring us to our appointment.

When Pumpkin saw the carrier, he went berserk. He screamed on top of his lungs, clawed his way out of my grip and tried to hide. He kept crying of sheer panic throughout the (blissfully short) car ride.

Interestingly, he calmed down at the vet, and during the exam not a single tone came from him, not even when the vet took a bloodsample. On the contrary, released from the carrier, Pumpkin’s curious nature came out too, and he looked around the vet’s office with great interest. Even the vet remarked that he was an unusually calm and friendly cat. On the way home he was fairly relaxed again and only small “let me out” cries could be heard from the carrier.

So, why did he get so upset in the first place? Well, the last few rides in a carrier ended up with him being abandoned in a new home, twice within 3 months, before he came to live with me. That’s why my friend and I assume that he was afraid it would happen again, that he had to start all over with yet another person or family. We think that his cries meant something like “No, no, don’t do this to me, not again!”

No worries, sweetie kitty, you are mine now! And I think he understands that. He is more affectionate than ever (although he will never become a lap cat), purrs more often and allows me to touch his belly and paws. And he is now sleeping in my bed all afternoon, happily ignoring all the cat beds everywhere else in the house. Cats, eh?

Kitty Adventures

Spring has come to Kyoto, with roughly 20 degrees during the daytime, and it’s finally time to keep the windows open. Pumpkin enjoys sitting at the windows and looking outside, especially at my office window. Somehow, he seems to know that half of the road is ours, and he growls at everybody who steps into his territory. If they come any closer, though, he runs away. My hero…

Anyway, the other day I was working away in my office when suddenly, I heard a crash from the living room. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that my dear Pumpkin had broken the screen door and was already well on his way into the neighbor’s garden.

I was horrified. Don’t get me wrong, the neighborhood is safe and quiet, so I wasn’t worried that he might get run over. But I was afraid that he might venture too far – curious kitty that he is – and that he wouldn’t make it home any more.

So I went after him. “Pumpkin, Pumpkin, come here…” which, of course, he ignored completely. After all, the neighbor’s garden was so much more interesting… I watched him check out the flowers and bushes, inspect the air condition units and make sure the space under the house was clean. And I was standing there and could do nothing to entice him back home. Thankfully, he soon got tired of his adventure and when he was close enough, I pulled him back inside.

I have no idea what prompted this escape. He had been perfectly content just looking outside for weeks. Maybe there was too tempting a bird or a bug. In any case, I now have to repair the screen door somehow. And I have been carefully gauging how wide to open the other windows – if they are opened at all at the moment…

My Guy

One of the reasons for my move was that I wanted a cat. And by a weird coincidence, I already owned a cat before I had packed a single box…

Meet Pumpkin. He is 11 years old, a distinguished gentleman in his best years. He moved in with me the week before Christmas, and we’re trying to make this relationship work. For now, it feels like having a secret lover in the office: There’s cuddles and kisses all night long, but during the day he goes “who are you – have we met?”

The following things I found out about him very quickly:

  • He loves heights and looking down on things. So, I bought a cat tree within a week of him moving in.
  • He is super curious. Every room, every oshiire storage, every box needs to be thoroughly inspected. Preferably daily.
  • He is adventurous too. The other day I made the mistake of letting him onto the balcony without watching him closely. He promptly made his way onto the roof on the first floor to explore, causing me a mild panic attack. He now demands to be let out daily for further adventures.
  • He loves kitty grass more than cat nip.
  • He also loves textures and enjoys chewing on bubble wrap and carton. His current favourite is a piece of wool. Thankfully, he spits it all out again.

He also likes to be in the same room with me, but to be fair, I’m kinda forcing him to. While he can roam most of the house quite freely, the house is freezing, and it’s only warm with me. We are slowly making progress, though, and I’m sure there’s more to find out about him. I hope I can give him a nice place to live in his final years.

And he deserves it. Before he became my Pumpkin, he lived under an alias with another family. In October, however, he was kicked out unexpectedly and for no good reason (they kept the other cat) and he needed a new place overnight. Through the Tamayuran, he ended up with a friend of mine, but she couldn’t keep him for good. So, in October already, I agreed to take him in – I always wanted an older cat – and he moved in with me as soon as the renovations were finished, and the house got quiet again.

That’s Pumpkin’s story so far. As I said, I’m sure there’s more to tell about him, but I’ll try not to make this into a kitty blog. You may see more pictures of him in the future, though. For now, I’m happy to say that he makes me laugh every day.