Friday, June 22, 2012

Kuro Gets Less Shy

Previous post: Meet Kuro

She's still a little on the shy side, but we've made some major steps forward.

Downstairs is scary. I'll just stay here, thank you.
Early in June, she spent most of a week sitting in the windowsill in the stairwell (having been closed out of every room upstairs to force her to socialize) or on the top few steps, but that was just a phase. I moved her food and water dishes a little bit every day, so over time they traveled from upstairs where she was alone most of the day, down the stairs one at a time, then down the hall to join the main food dish.
The second stair from the top is the most comfortable.

When I'm safe upstairs, I can lounge like people. I know how cute this is.

The first breakthrough was when she discovered the downstairs windowsill. It proved to her that there are some places on the first floor that aren't completely terrifying. It was important to get her to come downstairs because that's where I, my husband, and our cat spend most of the day. It's the center of activity in our house.

Okay, not as terrifying as I thought it would be.

The second breakthrough was when she would come downstairs on her own, even if she didn't stay long because she expected monsters to appear at any second.

The third was when she discovered my desk chair. This is significant because it's the first time she spent any time at all on something cushioned and comfy. All our floors and windowsills are hardwood.

It's downstairs, which is bad, but it's comfortable, which is good. I'm so confused!

The fourth was when she curled up at my waist and slept on the bed all night. My husband was out of town on a business trip, but when he came back, she curled up at his knees and still slept on the bed all night! For the last week or so, she's been doing that pretty consistently.

As of writing, she is happily curled up between me and the back of my office chair, snoozing. I put up a cat tree a few days ago, and she spends a few hours a day on one of those shelves.
If I go too high, Crooked chases me away. This is kind of nice, though.

She still doesn't let my husband pet her much, but at bedtime it seems to be okay. She still doesn't like Crooked, either, but we went from her hissing, growling, and running away, to this:

A week later, I took this:

For the first few weeks he gave her all the space she wanted. She growled, he left her alone. Then he got tired of that and now he chases her for a few steps once or twice a day. Someday she might realize he's playing with her.

They sniff, but they don't groom each other or really hang out. That's okay, though, Crooked and our late cat were never really good friends.

I get the distinct impression that they don't quite speak the same language. There is definitely some "I'm a cat, you're a cat," base level communication happening, but I really think they don't understand the finer points of each others' behavior.



I hadn't thought about it before, but it makes sense. They're geographically separated with very little interaction, and American cats are larger on average. Crooked is a US-average cat at 9lbs, Kuro is a Japan-average cat at 6lbs (someone please tell me if I'm way off the mark, I'm only going by my own observations). Friends here in Tokyo have commented on how big Crooked is, but we had a roommate with an 18lb cat that wasn't fat at all. That is a big cat.

If there's a difference as observable as size, why not in behavior? I don't know how many people have a cat from the US and a cat from Japan to study how they interact.

It's getting to be less of an issue as they get used to each other and Kuro hangs out more, but I think that might have been part of her trouble settling in.

Kuro is a 6-year-old spayed female, available for adoption through the Japan Cat Network. She is a little shy, but she is quiet and self-sufficient. She has lived in a family with middle-school-aged boys, but I think she would also be a great companion for a working professional, either as a single cat or in a multi-cat household. She doesn't need a lot of attention, but she appreciates it when she gets it. Because she is so quiet, she would do well in an apartment.

Next: Kuro Doesn't Understand Doors


  1. My japanese cat is 10lbs.

    1. Is she an average size for Japan? My theory may need to be reworked if she is.