I Want a Cat, But My Elderly Father Is Against the Idea

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female company employee in my late 40s. I live with my father.

My mother died last year. Shortly after that, a stray cat appeared in our yard and started coming every morning and evening. It became something for me to look forward to for a few hours each day.

One day, about a year later, the cat suddenly stopped showing up, and life went back to being bleak.

Since then, I’ve been completely fascinated by cats and eager to have one, but my elderly father is against the idea.

He likes dogs and cats too, but the death of our beloved dog was excruciating for him. He says he doesn’t want to see another pet suffer.

I know that raising a living creature is not something that can be done half-heartedly, so I’ve tried to show my enthusiasm to him by attending workshops about adopting cats at a public health center. But he won’t give me the go-ahead.

I’m single and have no children, so I want to devote my affection to a cat. Should I give up? How can I persuade my father?

G, Gunma Prefecture

Dear Ms. G:

I sympathized deeply with you after reading your letter.

I’m single at the age of 65 and live with three cats and my brother, who has been classified as Care Level 5, which is reserved for people who require the highest level of nursing care.

The cats are a bit aggressive, but I’ve honestly been able to get by thanks to their presence. If not for the cats, there would be no conversation or laughter in our house. The communication at home springs from the cats.

Given your age, your father must be in his 70s. There must be times when he feels depressed. How soothing it might be to have a cat by his side at such times. I think it’s a good time to get one.

Your father has always liked dogs and cats, but the trauma from his dog’s death has turned him against having a pet, right?

If so, there’s no need to worry. Why don’t you try visiting a pet adoption event with your father? I’m sure he’ll realize that a cat can become a source of comfort for his family and power for his life — not to mention how crazy he’ll be driven by how cute it is.

Trauma is a psychological response, while cats are real. Psychological responses are powerless in the face of reality.

You clearly understand the responsibility of pet ownership. I can imagine how happy a cat will surely be, living with someone like you.

There may be age limits for owning pets depending on the groups handling the pet adoptions. Please be cautious about putting it off. The sooner, the better.

Eiko Yamaguchi, writer