Bobtails in Japan
by Dirk and Koma-chan
Before ... just after rescue. The size of a 1,000 note.
Firstly, please allow me to humbly say, I don't think you should use the term "Jap", as in Jap Bob. It really is equivalent to "nigger". If I wrote about nigger cats, I don't think you would like it or publish it.
Putting that aside, can I just say it is true that in Japan, Bobtails have become fairly common amongst street cats, i.e. ferals, although it is probably fair to say 'semi-ferals' as many cats in the towns and cities live outside and independently from humans, but are still fed by humans and relatively friendly. Thanks to a mix of people's tendency, climate and environment, a kind of co-existence takes place. I have seen bent tails, corkscrews, rump tails and the classic bob. In our town they are mostly dark haired or black. I have only seen one full tortoiseshell-on-white and no Mike bobs.
This is one of our friends, San-chan. He was rescued from a local park which is commonly used for probably both dumping and feeding strays at an age when he was too young to survive. I watched him for a few days to make sure he had no mother or siblings but he was becoming increasingly sick. Temples are also common dumping/feeding areas as people know Buddhist pilgrims are far more likely to feed them there. They don't want to kill or neuter them, so they "leave them for the Buddha to take care of".
He may never be a show cat, but you can see his evolution and it was wonderfully gratifying to turn his life around. Sadly kawaii and kirei ("cute" and "clean or orderly") and money, dominates a very abusive and poorly regulated pet industry in Japan. Few people would want to pick up a dirty, flea ridden sick kitten and take him home.
Yes, it is true, even ex-feral bobtails will play fetch, be happily carried outside inside clothing and walk on leashes (a necessity where even in the suburbs there is so much congestion and no sidewalks). He has always been very courageous against bigger cats, is fascinated by their tails, but has socialized well with cats whilst being very cool and stand off-ish to humans by nature. Not shy but independent.
Yes, he chirps rather than meows, has a wide range of voices and, largely, does not purr ... except when he is sucking. I suspect he was separated too young and he still takes comfort in doing so. Hell when his claws need cut. He is still a full male, until he becomes full-size, but currently kept indoors.
At some point we may have to decide whether to return him to where he came (TNR) now he can survive. There are many other kittens that need rescued and treated ...
Unfortunately, it is terrible to write, the crows in Japan have learnt a trick of using human's pavement and tarmac to kill stray kittens. As a rule, crows eat carrion and don't hunt to kill. They cannot fight cats. What they have learnt is that by picking up a weak kitten and flying off with it, they can drop them on pavement and kill or split them, at which point they become crow food.
In addition to the heat and dryness of summer, and cold of winter, it is tough for kittens to survive. Cat flu and FIV are fairly common.
Dirk and Koma-chan