I used to like cats. But then I got addicted to the internet, so now I just think that cats are jerks. Every day, when I get on Facebook, I’m assaulted by pictures of cats frowning, knocking things off of shelves for no good, and sitting in boxes. I’m used to that. Cats on the internet don’t scare me.
But then I moved to Tokyo.
When I got to campus, while I was unpacking, one of my new friends warned me that there were cats all over. She said ICU’s (International Christian University) ironic nickname was Insane Cats United because there are cats everywhere. I rolled my eyes and continued unpacking.
And then I went outside.
Sure enough, there were cats everywhere. They sit on the road (and refuse to move, even when you drive toward them), they take up entire benches, the run in front of your bike, and they stare at you with that “why are you approaching me, you worthless human” look.
I even found one sitting in the basket for my bike once. It was this fat, orange, furry thing just smugly sitting there. I was too scared to do anything (it’s technically a wild cat, you know), so I just left my bike and walked over to a friend’s dorm.
A couple hours later, when I re-visited my bike, the cat was gone. I biked home in shame.
Joking aside, I see cats everywhere I go. They’re always sitting on my neighbor’s stone walls, crawling in the bushes behind my apartment, or looking at me through me window – meowing and judging me.
Why I don’t understand it: Tokyo is a city. A huge, metropolitan city. Before I got to Tokyo, I just kind of assumed that the only living creatures (aside from people) that can survive in huge cities like Tokyo are crows.
But there aren’t very many crows in Tokyo. Instead there are cats.
Why I kind of do understand it: Cats are cute. I think they are jerks, but I still love to pet, play with, look at, and take pictures of them. And I don’t even mind when my friends show me pictures and videos of their cats (to an extent).
I live in a fairly nice residential neighborhood near a somewhat large college campus. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of my neighbors fed all the feral cats. I know students on campus feed the cats.
Feral cats are cuter (and less annoying) than wild crows. Cats can pretend to like you and cuddle up to you for food. They’ve learned how to manipulate humans; trading love for food. Japanese people tend to like cute things. Heck, they even have cat cafés here – cafés where you pay to play with adorable, furry cats. You can sip a latte and rub a cat’s tummy at the same time.
So why pay for something you can get for free at home? If you want cats to stalk you, just leave a bowl of fish, food, or treats outside your back door. That should do the trick.
Final thoughts: I don’t hate cats. I kind of like cats. If you have a cat, and if I ever meet your cat, I will probably like it. But I guarantee you think that your cat is a lot cuter than it really is.
Sorry. It’s the truth.
I don’t mind if you send me pictures of your cats “doing silly things.” But if you send me pictures of your cats more than once a week, after a while I’m going to block your email. Ok, I won’t block you. But I will stop reading your emails if you include something like “Look how cute my cat is!” in the subject line.
If I wanted to see a cat, I would – you know – go outside. Walk around anywhere in Tokyo. Look outside my window.
The orange cat is still sitting there, judging me.
For other “Things I don’t Understand About Japan” posts, check out:
- Things I don’t Understand About Japan: Melon Soda
- Things I don’t Understand About Japan: The Obsession with Crocs
- Things I don’t Understand About Japan: Job Hunting Suits
- Things I don’t Understand About Japan: Lucky Bags (Fuku bukuro) 福袋
- Things I don’t Understand About Japan: Structure of College Classes
- Add me on Google Plus: +Grace Buchele