Set against the constantly changing seasons of the American countryside, this story tells of the powerful bond that forms between a married couple and their beloved cat. It is based on author Rui Kodemari’s own experiences with her cat, no longer of this world.
Ayano, born and raised in Japan, and Michio, of Japanese descent but born and raised in the United States, are introduced to each other as potential marital partners in Tokyo. They instantly hit it off, decide to get married without delay, and Ayano moves to America. It is a second marriage for both of them, following unions that left each of them scarred. Agreeing that they would like to have a cat as part of their new life together, they go to the local animal shelter, and when a Norwegian Forest kitten leaps out of the cage onto Michio’s shoulder, they decide to take it home.
The kitten quickly becomes the center of their life and a symbol of their happiness. Even the scratches it leaves on the furniture as it bounds about the house are endearing to them. Stories about the cat are interwoven with the ebb and flow of the couple’s love for each other, telling of how it responds to the appearance of wildlife outside the windows, what it did when left home alone while the couple went on a trip, and so forth. The young kitten grows into adulthood and ages far more quickly than its human guardians; the two look on with growing concern as the end appears nigh, and then their beloved companion is gone. As close as Michio and Ayano have been as husband and wife, they respond differently to their loss?each grieving and healing in his or her own way?and this serves to bring subtle wrinkles in their relationship into relief.