Sep 022006

Unagi was our cat. We met him in 1998, when we were living in central San Jose. A little neighborhood girl found him near our house when he was a maybe 6 weeks old. She asked us to take care of him and we did. We quickly grew to love him. Haga picked his name, which means “Eel” in Japanese because the cat’s colorations reminded her of an eel.

We made a decision to let him be an outdoor cat because we felt he would be happier that way. And he was. He climbed trees and killed mice and roamed the neighborhood. Unfortunately he also killed birds and would smear the remains into the house carpet, or bring the bodies into our bedroom. Because he was an outdoor cat, he was pretty strong and quick. He would get sort of fat in the winter and very skinny in the summer. Mostly in the Summertime, he would go on “treks” for several days, not to be seen. But would always return.

He also defended his territory. I have seen him make surprise attacks on dogs that get to close to the house. He once got into a fight with another cat who tried to kill Unagi. He had big claw rakes down his neck. But he survived.

Unagi had a lot of personality. He was not very cuddly, but would like to sleep at the foot of the bed. Only sometimes come to sleep on our laps. Although sometimes he would follow us around the block when we walked to the store. In some ways he was like a dog I guess. He seemed smart for a cat. He understood when I called him, but often would not care.

We gave Unagi to our friend Jeremy when Akiva was born. Before Akiva was born, while we were in China, Lucia took great care of Unagi. But after Akiva came, we decided to sell the house and we thought it would not be right to bring him to China, subjecting him to a possibly long customs detention as well as a life indoors. Jeremy lives on a ranch near Jamul (near San Diego). We were very sad when Jeremy took Akiva away and we cried. But Unagi was very happy on the ranch. Jeremy gave him love and sustenance. Unagi had a large area to roam. He hunted rabbits a lot. He lived as a farm cat.

Jeremy called me yesterday and told me that Unagi has been gone for almost a month and most likely is dead. There was a large pack of Coyotes that went through his “neighborhood” the night Unagi disappeared and many of his neighbors have lost cats and dogs that night. So he was probably killed and possibly eaten by a Coyote.

I am sad about this. I don’t want to think about how he died. We loved Unagi and when I think about him I feel loss now. On the other hand, he had a good run. He was a good cat that lived well with his “owners” and he showed attachment for us. He was healthy, strong, cunning, and always curious. He was cute and playful too. Haga and I will miss him.

So long, Unagi by Haga

Jesse had a phone call from Jeremy his best friend in San Diego. He said Unagi is gone. Unagi might be attacked by coyotes.

Unagi was our first son.

In 1998 summer, when I came out from late morning shower on the weekend, Jesse told me he has some surprise to show me. It was a kitten. Summer, a girl from our neighbour found him on our front yard and wondered if he belongs to us. Jesse knows I love cat. I have a cat in my parent house. Jesse wanted make me feel like where we were my home (that time I had lived in the U.S. for only two years). Jesse told Summer to keep him until we find the owner. I had mixed feeling about having a cat. If we cannot find the owner, we need to adopt him. We traveled a lot. I didn’t know what to do with cat while we were not home.

After three days, we couldn’t find the owner. The kitten was about six weeks old and had already toilet training. He was skinny, black and shinny. We named him eel in Japanese.

Unagi became our part of life. When I saw him on the from yard driving back from work, I felt like I am home. He made a friend from next door. Because of Unagi’s friendship, we also became a friend with the owner.

Unagi kept me a company when I was alone and pregnant. Jesse was working in Shanghai and I came back to the U.S when I was five months pregnant. At the end of my pregnancy, Unagi could not sit on my lap because my belly was sticking out. He laid down on my top of belly and kept my belly warm.

On the day we need to say good bye to Unagi. Jesse and I cried for long time although we knew we made the best decision for him.

In Suzhou, there is no wild animal. When I was in Shanghai I didn’t heard sound of birds. There is no scrawls, no skunks, no racoons of curse no coyotes. I have to believe Unagei had a great life in wild nature in California.

 Posted by at 9:20 pm

  2 Responses to “Unagi Neko”

  1. I’m so sorry about Unagi. I know you both loved him greatly. Feel good that his life was good and that he was
    loved. Kisses and hugs for all of you.

  2. Hi Haga/Jesse,

    Sad to hear this. But maybe he’s in even a better place now 🙂


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