Originally printed in The Rafu Shimpo on Feb. 28, 2012.

Those of you who read the Ochazuke I wrote about my furry daughter, Tika, some time ago, will recall that she was given to me by my neighbor, whom I will call “Jim.”

Jim had three dogs who were chasing Tika around the apartment and constantly frightening her. Jim tried to find a good home for Tika, three times. One friend found out she was allergic to cats, another friend could not have pets in her apartment, and another friend moved out of town.

Every once in a while I would see Tika when Jim was at home. He had such erratic working hours it was impossible to see Tika as much as I wanted. However, whenever I saw her, I would hold her and talk to her.

One day, Jim said, “I’ll have to take Tika to the animal shelter since I feel sorry for her because the dogs seem to be abusing her more often. I want to keep my dogs because I have had them since they were puppies.”

I could not bear to have Tika taken to the animal shelter, so I adopted her. She has been with me since March 2007 and has had very minimal contact with her former owner, Jim.

About two weeks ago, I had a technical problem and Jim kindly solved the problem. As he was leaving, he saw Tika lying on the sofa in the living room and picked her up and held her. She lay quietly in his arms and then suddenly looked into his eyes and gently meowed. She seemed to be saying, “Hi! You were once my owner and it’s nice to see you.”

I said to Jim, “Tika remembers you,” as my eyes flooded with tears and Jim said, “Yes, she certainly does.”

It was indeed a tender moment for Jim and me.

The touching moment I would like to share with you has become a ritual. I have breakfast between 6 and 6:30 a.m. on the days I work. While I am preparing my breakfast of a bowl of hot Quaker Oats cereal with a banana and a cup of coffee, Tika comes into the kitchen and sits in front of her food. She never begins eating her food and waits until I sit down at the table and we have breakfast together. (Before I eat, I turn around to see if she is eating.) Ain’t that something? (I am almost tempted to have her sit at the table with me.)

I have had two cats before Tika, but we have never had breakfast together. I cannot say whether my former two cats were more intelligent than the one I now have, but each cat had or has its own “purrsonality.” I thank God for creating cats and the joy and companionship I had with Miki and Toughy and now have with Tika.


Maggie Ishino is a Rafu typist. She can be reached at Ochazuke is a staff-written column. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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