I came home tonight and went through my normal routine. I unlocked the door, opened it, and flipped down the little stopper so that the door would remain propped open. My cat was waiting at the door. He came outside and proceeded to flip around and I sang my "Flippy" Song. It goes,
Flippy Flippy, Flippy the Flippiest Caaa-aaaaat
Let me tell you a little bit about my cat. His name is Kamikaze Kamakiri Kitty. Don't jump to conclusions about the KKK moniker...he is black. It would be cruel to name him after the Ku Klux Klan. He's Japanese. Hence, the Kamikaze, because he is stealth like a gentle wind. Ummmm, or not. Kamakiri was added to Kamikaze shortly after we met and he requested a name. I had just learned the word kamakiri, Japanese for 'praying mantis.' How I learned it is a story for another time. This cat, as a kitten, did like to wrap his arms around my wrist and gnaw on my hand - kind of reminded me of what a praying mantis would look like eating her mate. Kitty was added because that is his nature.
Mostly I just call him Baby, though.
I will share the full saga of Kamikaze soon (ahhh, so many promises of future stories!) But let's start at the here and now. There's no getting around the fact that my cat is a big cat. When he was tiny and fit into the palm of my hand I had no way of knowing he was actually from a prominent Sumo-Cat family. I had never met his parents, afterall. I found him, tiny and meowing and alone, on a busy street on my way home late one night in Japan. I think his parents abandoned him because he was so very tiny and they feared he would be a laughing-stock amongst his many much more robust family. If I met his parents I would show them that he has become quite the Sumo. He was, at his last vets visit, about 4 weeks ago, 13.86 kgs!
For a cat, that's HUGE!
He's now on a diet because he doesn't seem interested in the art of Sumo. He won't wear his loincloth and refuses to stay inside the circle, thereby losing every match I've ever challenged him to.
He's still pretty agile though. But not very bendy. When I had to take his to the vet, as I just mentioned, I had to cram his into his carrier. He was fine and easily able to turn around in said carrier when we first arrived in the Land of the Morning Calm almost a year ago. No more, though. He was jammed up against the back of the carrier because I had to stuff him in face first. It was bloody embarrassing.
So anyhow, back to tonight. Kamikaze had done his usual flipping and I had sang his song, and then I came inside to put my bag down, turn on the lights and stick a couple things I had bought into the freezer. I called to my cat, "Marshmallow? Come on in." He did not come! Usually he is pretty close behind me because he is anxious to have his dinner and also because he is very very very skittish around people. I called him again, and yet still, he did not come. I put my sandals on and went outside to see an empty hallway! Hmmmm!
Like many low-rise apartments in Korea, my door opens to an outside hallway with a couple sets of stairs leading to the ground. I walked over to one set of stairs and couldn't find him. I walked to the other, calling his name and, oh, there he is.
"Hi, my adventurous little boy!" I said happily. I like to see him out wandering around and exploring things. He walked back to the apartment with me but didn't come inside. I did a couple other things with my door still open and then went out again to see what he was up to. He was at the other end of the hallway again, past the set of stairs! I walked down to see him. "Hi K, what are you doing, you silly monkey??!" He rolled onto his back so I could pet his big Buddha-belly.
I wish I had a video camera to catch what happened next. Suddenly there were footsteps on the second set of stairs, beyond my open apartment door. Kamikaze rolled upright with more grace than I knew he had, glanced briefly at me, and started to scramble back toward the apartment. Meanwhile, the footsteps coming down the hall toward us from behind my open door were approaching fast. Kamikaze bolted toward the stairs nearest to us, and then thought better of it. He faltered a little bit as a man sidestepped my open door, but then gathered his courage and ran, grunting, toward this man in the hopes of bypassing him and making it safe into the apartment.
The man was looking at me. Not uncommon. I'm a big white red-headed chick in a land filled with un-white non-red-heads. He didn't see Kamikaze's considerable bulk running toward him, and when he finally looked down, he let out this noise, like, "Myuuuh yuuuhh uhhhh uuuuuhhh AHHHH!" and he did this funny 'I'm terrified' dance.
I laughed my ass off, between apologizing in Korean.
The man went to the apartment at the end of the hall to pick up the dishes left outside, and was again walking toward me as I was lifting up the door-stopped to close the apartment door (and still laughing my head off.) I again apologized, and he chuckled, put his free hand on his heart, and said something to me in Korean. I don't know what it was exactly but I imagine it was something like "Holy shit man, that furry black pig just about made me crap my pants! Did you see that thing??!?"
It took a few minutes for Kamikaze to stop groaning. He grunts and sticks his tongue out when he's anxious. You should have SEEN him at the vet, making all kindsa crazy faces, and noises varying from grunts and hyperventilation, to screams I didn't know a cat was capable of making. (This, in protest to being placed on the X-ray table for the fourth time.)
He also semi-transforms into a squirrel. His tail bushes up to about three times it's normal size.
It's something to see, I tell ya!