It was 15 years ago when I first encountered the orange tabby angel.
It was the middle of November and I was back from shopping at Montbell, holding a shopping bag in my left hand and keys in the right one. He was a stray kitty aged around 6 months then, burying himself in a paper box just below mailboxes by the entrance door of the dormitory where I lived. The box was filled with fliers, direct mailings, and free paper magazines. I could only recognize his small head. He's been staying in the paper box and making everlasting "Meow Meow" noise to everybody walking through the entrance door.
He was very friendly and talkative but nobody paid any attention to him...
I must admit that there was an irreversible chemical reaction taking place deep inside my heart that unintentionally caused me to grab and put him in the Montbell shopping bag.
Later on, because of that, he was named "Mont" and yes, I kidnapped this little tiger.
|Please excuse Ms. T's purple underwear (unwashed) revealed in public|
I took him to my apt where, of course, pets were not allowed. I asked my then GF to buy him cat foods as I had zero experience of having a cat. I had been a hardcore dog person until then, but that orange tabby immediately and utterly converted me into a cat freak. We set his date of birth as May 26th, 1998 because he was born in the spring of that year and May 26 is my birthday. Mont and I celebrated each other on the same day.
He had no idea that this was the beginning of his bizarre adventure in THE WORLD!
After me defending Ph. D degree in the field of Bioscience (I became Dr. T.), he settled in New York City, Ames IA, Umeå Sweden, and went back to my home town, Utsunomiya, Japan. He made a round trip on Planet Earth!
|Nap time when he was in Big Apple|
We still have no idea why nothing good happened to us all when we were in the Midwest - car accident, racism, discrimination from the community, bad health condition of Mont... Absolutely nothing! Within a year, we left that vast corn and soybean field and flew to Umeå, Sweden, located just below the arctic circle. I left the US earlier to set up environment to welcome Mont in Sweden. I'm not going to describe how critical his health condition was when we left Iowa but it was very bad and Ms. T. saved his life. No kidding. He was 6 years old then.
Life in Umeå was pretty compatible to him. Ms. T. could spare more of her time taking better care of Mont and he regained his vigor relatively quickly. We met a very nice and skilled veterinarian and it meant a lot to him. About a year and a half later Mont got a new sister who was a freshly born kitty, a mixed Norwegian forest tabby. She reminded us of Gizmo in Gremlins, always full of energies.
Her name is "Tara" and Mont was 8 years old then.
Since Tara was a very easygoing and cheerful kitty with warm heart, Mont got along well with her. Well, they had cat fights from time to time but when it was time, they relied on and helped each other.
Altogether we got four members - Japanese orange short hair (Mont), Japanese black long hair (me), Polish yellow short hair (Ms. T.) and Sweden-born Norwegian forest thick gray hair (Tara).
In February, 2009, Mont landed his home country - Japan. Unusual snowstorm was waiting for us when arrived at Narita Airport. He was 11 years old. He's been doing fine for the first three years. I was lucky to be able to spend more time with him when we were in my hometown. That was when I started photography and whenever I bought a lens or a camera, the first shot was always Mont. Just because he was always by me. Mont and I enjoyed eating Japanese rice and fresh sashimi (see video below). He gained weight a little bit.
It was always Ms. T. who noticed the subtle changes in his health condition. In 2012 when his age hit 14, the fluctuation of his thyroid activity were too big that we could not find the optimum dosage of medication to have the thyroid activity under control... That was the beginning of the end.
We, especially Ms. T., struggled to cure Mont but he was becoming a VIP customer of our vet. I must mention that Mont was never an easy cat in terms of health condition even when he was little. He had a very sensitive stomach that was like made of very thin fragile glass. He was picky and had indigestion problems (throwing up even when eating proper dosage of food at once). We had to feed Mont one dry bit at a time, a few bits every 20 minutes whenever we were with Mont, even while sleeping. We always had his dry food under the pillow and fed him while dreaming. We even used to get up to make wet food twice a night.
But we were happy just being with him. Spending time with him cheered us all up! Mont was that type of creature. Or maybe we were too crazy for him, weren't we???
|Mom, set us free...|
Mont exerted his gumption to survive and prolong his life, hoping to see me again. Given the fact that almost all of his organs became dysfunctional, we were forced to come to the conclusion to give him an eternal catnap... The decision was so heartbreaking but witnessing our orange boy suffering was not our intention, either. The treatment was administrated at 8:30 AM on November 4th, 2013 (JST)... He was 15 years and 5 months.
Sadly, due to my working circumstances, I was not able to say goodbye to our beloved boy...
We all miss him like there is no tomorrow. We all love him deep from our hearts.
His memory is our treasure and his soul is always with us.