Chapter 10. Study & Question

Rocco started to run full speed. He now doesn’t have time to play with friends. He doesn’t play even with such close friends as Kijitora and Kumatora. He doesn’t catch sparrows or mice. He doesn’t even miaow.
Rocco is now desperately studying. He is reading difficult books from book lover Daddy’s library, digesting a mere ten books a day.
When he gets up in the morning, he says “Good morning” to Daddy and Mommy with a bow. He is very well-mannered. When he uses the bathroom, he flushes the toilet and washes his hands. He eats warm dishes that Mommy prepared with the family. Sometimes, he licks the dishes and is scolded by Mommy. He is still not good at using a knife and fork.
After dinner, Rocco watches movies with the family. He enjoys it a lot. He has seen many good movies of olden times and new ones in the news. Whenever he comes across scenes difficult to understand or important, Daddy explains him in a plain word.
Therefore, Rocco loves movies. He learned a lot through movies. On the Earth, there are many countries and many peoples who speak different languages. Each of them thinks and feels differently. Everyone puts importance on things different from others. That’s right! The Lady also told me that humans are all different, and that never be afraid of it.
Sigh. Rocco gave a sigh in spite of himself.
“How complicated humans are! How can they go along well when they are so different each other.” Rocco murmured. Then Daddy responded him promptly.
“That’s why everybody is fighting each other everywhere. It’s good if it ends with a mere fighting, though. Everywhere conflicts have developed into serious wars.”
Daddy said bitterly. Rocco didn’t overlook that his face turned hollow.
Even though Daddy knows everything, there are things that he can do nothing about. Rocco felt a moment of anxiety. He has to get involved with human society from now on, but he knows only the very simple society of cats.
But Rocco has already determined to commit himself. He made up his mind not to look back.
Today, too, Rocco has been reading books from early in the morning.
He has read so many books by now. He has asked a lot of questions to Daddy, too. And now he is getting to understand the human society. There is one word that he has hard time understanding. It is the word “nation.” What is it? As people are born, they belong to a certain nation. And many of them will end their life as people of their nation.
“What is good about a nation? I wonder that people cannot live as individuals.”
Rocco still doesn’t understand why people belong to a nation for their entire life as if it is a matter of course. He has been absorbed in a thick history book. He has read the history of olden times to the present over and over again. As far as he sees it, people have been suffering more than benefiting by belonging a nation. Because when there is disagreement, individuals might quarrel, but nations start a war. When they started a war, many people die. So do cats and dogs.
Rocco was at a loss how to think. Why is it necessary to have nations?
Rocco was thinking about Torakichi, the neighborhood’s alpha cat. He has three faithful followers, Kijitora, Buchitora, and Kumatora. It is not normal for a cat society that cats follow an alpha cat for years. When the season came to cats, female cats have male followers, but as soon as a female cat choses one mate, the rest stops following her.
In this neighborhood, there have been many big dogs and they tended to scatter away small dogs and cats. If you don’t run away soon enough, you will be bitten hard by them. Kijitora was attacked by a Labrador and had his tail bent 90 degrees. Those bad alley cats such as Kiji, Buchi, and Kuma had no way but putting up with the rule of big dogs. Then, a stranger Torakichi came from somewhere.
Torakichi is a cat who looks like a bulldog. At the first sight, everybody mistakes him as a dog. Taking advantage of his fierce appearance, Torakaichi bravely attacked big dogs one after another. His tactics is to shout with a furious look, and when the opponent flinched, he jumped at him and hit him with a right hook. This tactics worked and he finally get the territory back to cats. Kiji, Buchi, and Kuma got together at Torakichi and declared that they formed Torakichi Family, calling themselves Kijitora, Buchitora, and Kumatora. In order to prevent themselves from attack by alley dogs and cats, they offer part of their food to Torakichi.
They get security and safety by it. A nation’s security has the same mechanism. People get together, form an organization, and make it bigger and bigger. Then, it will develop into a nation. Naturally, people must have experienced lot of fighting and sorrow. History books say that they have repeated the same mistakes.
They fight and die under the name of a nation.
People are not fully used the power and rights of individuals. They can assert freedom of individuals more. They have fought for it for such a long period. In cat society, it is unthinkable. It is true that everybody asserts himself in the cat society. Cats do whatever they want. They are self-centered, seek pleasures only, and act on instinct. Cats never think about cooperating with each other.
Cats have been used in awful sayings. But I’ve never heard of hundreds,
thousands, or millions of cats died in a fighting. How can humans who have to be fellow beings born on the same planet hate each other to kill each other. They come to hate other nation and its people. I don’t understand it. Why is that?
“Ah, Rocco, are you thinking about something difficult again?” Looking at Rocco, who is looking up the empty space, with his arms folding, and sighing, Kii asked him anxiously. She has mixed feelings about Rocco who is growing rapidly day by day. He doesn’t show any interest in playing with a ball or tag any longer. In fact, Rocco now speaks difficult languages that even she doesn’t understand. He’s highly motivated to learn and his understanding is superb.
However, Rocco was very worried. “I’ve been absorbed in learning so far, but what on earth can I do in the human’s society which looks more and more complicated as I know about.” He has lot of worries.
Suddenly, Rocco reflected.
If I didn’t encounter the incident that morning, I didn’t have to think, worry, or have questions, or seeking answers.
In the past, about this time of a day, I used to sleep soundly on my favorite rug laid at the corner of the sun room facing south, until the dinner time. After I finished dinner, go back to sleep until the breakfast. And then, I go out for a short walk in lunchtime. I go around my territory, make sure that nobody is looking at me, and then start an exercise for cats in the usual vacant lot.
I stand with my back legs shoulder-distance apart, which means actually not so much apart, breath deeply, and bend backward sticking out my chest with my front legs at the back. I maintain this position for a while, and then go back to the original state breathing out slowly. When I breath out, I shouldn’t forget to do it in coaxing tones. Why? Because it is our greatest weapon.
Doing this exercise three times a day is enough for cats.
This is an exercise that all cats around the world know instinctively. Why do they do this exercise? If not, we will have stoop-shoulders.
Rocco was daydreaming, and then suddenly noticed a big difference from his present life. He felt a little embarrassed and funny. After all, humans are great. We, animals, care about our own security, and that’s it. Humans care about obligations, responsibilities, behaviors, and cooperation, in addition to that. I don’t understand what cooperation means. How can I learn about it?
Rocco started to notice that there are many things that’s hard to understand by reading books. His concerns begin to expand as if it was a thunderhead floating in the blue sky in mid-summer. As he felt weak, he remembered what happened on that morning.
In the evening of that day, Rocco was waiting for Daddy to come home calmly. I will talk precisely what happened to me, when all members of our family get together for dinner. Until then, Rocco returned to walk on four paws and spent the rest of the day as usual. He noticed that it is hard for shoulders to walk on four paws. That means standing on two feet might impose a burden on somewhere in the body. I have to be careful.