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Monday, January 24, 2011

Stray Cats

On the weekend I took Anna to the park by her request.  Everyone has been under the weather recently and she was getting quite stir crazy.  We went to the park to play, but Anna found a group of stray cats.  She spent over an hour following them around and watching them intently.  She would study and copy their movements and smile back at me. 

Then I thought about it a little deeper.  In America, I had cats and a dog and a backyard to play in.  Anna has never experienced raising a pet or spent a lot of time with animals.  It was a special time for her, something I take for granted having growing up in a different place, a different time.

Appreciation for life is an important lesson for children to learn.  The only way to learn it is to actually spend time with animals and experience the life in them.  These days, especially in Japan, it is getting harder to teach children about the value of life.  The outside world is filled with risk and even danger for children, but also discovery.  It was a blessing to watch my daughter discover and interact with the stray cats. 

Most of these cats were thrown away by their owners and live off of the generosity of those who come to feed them on occassion.  I wonder what she thinks about it all.  I could see her processing it, but not quite sure how to feel or express it in words.

Just another little story from raising children in Japan...

Please leave a comment :)


  1. Stray cats sometimes bites. I got a post about it here:
    Cats… “Pets” or “Pest”
    hope you like it.

  2. yes I agree that it is a different world for a child. There is more danger but there is also a different type of excitement. Maybe there has always been danger, but we are just more aware of it now. Think circa, 1800's, wild west, or 1900's no child labor laws. So what we think of as dangerous is only a reflection of our own memories. Enjoyed your post be well WH

  3. Stephen, Thank you so much for sharing about your little daughter's experiences of living in between foriegn cultures. I see these kids as if they are flowers in a garden. And to see them growing up is really an amazing experience. Being a single and being away from my parents, brothers, sisters and also from my country I really miss these kids.
    So nice to see your little daughter's interaction with life.

    Best wishes for you and your small garden....

  4. Stephen, I felt so moved by your post. I was lucky to grow up with a pet when I was young and experience all the wonder and closeness that kind of relationship entails. Now I'm an avid lover of nature and love to be out in the wild close to animals and their way of being. I swear they've taught me more about what it means to be "human" than any book or teacher ever did. I'm so glad your daughter had this opportunity. Children, too, are the great teachers, with their openness and curiosity toward all things living.

  5. Thanks guys for the inspiring and moving comments on this post! There really is a joy and mysterious depth going through the trial of parenting, as I call it.

    Yes, NP children are great teachers in their own way and animals show us the power, beauty, and mystery of life.

    WH, so true I didn`t think about the dangers or risks so much as a kid either, at that age we want to explore our world with a recklessness that is the essence of human experience. It is a precious precociousness as it were.

    EW, children grow like weeds but bloom like beautiful flowers...well the girls do anyways LOL.

  6. cats are cute, stray cats won't bite you if you won't bite 'em!

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