#1: IKKYU came to live with me just before he turned 8 weeks old. He was a ruddy Abyssinian, born in Japan where I was living at the time. He settled into the small flat where I lived in Tokyo with amazing speed. Here he is a little after he arrived:
IKKYU had a great sense of fun and was very boisterous right from the start. He would climb up my pyjama legs, try to investigate the contents of the fridge, and was once found hanging from the middle of one of the curtain rails. He has a special passion for my printer, though:
Like all Abys, he was devastatingly handsome (although differently from Sen-Chan as he was a ruddy, rather than red, Abbyssinian). He always appreciated beautiful things:
What he did NOT appreciate, however, was anyone other than me. Most of my friends were nervous around him, if not downright frightened, as he had a way of growling and hissing if anyone got too close. But with me, he was hugely affectionate and protective. He loved sitting on the window ledge in my study in Tokyo, just supervising everything
IKKYU also was a world-class traveller. We were in Japan until he was 6, then spent several years in Chicago before moving back to France. All the way through, he would come with me to Prince Edward Island in the summers, and to France for Christmas when we lived elsewhere. I always thought it a shame that he could not get frequent flyer miles! Once, we even travelled together from Tokyo to Paris in an otherwise empty First-Class Cabin!
In those days, Air France was very relaxed about pets on board!!!
He had his portrait painted twice, the latest one being done last summer by our friend Ms. C, proud mom of the T'Abby Normal gang, Abby and Stygia. As you can see, IKKYU approved!
By the way, IKKYU was nicer to Ms. C than to almost anyone else he ever met! The portrait now hangs in the living room.
IKKYU was an extremely healthy cat who, mercifully (!), only had to go to vet's for his shots for many, many years. But, with time, his kidneys started to fail and he was eventually diagnosed with feline diabetes. He did well for a while under the care of our wonderful vet, but there was also a silent cancer growing in his bladder, and he suddenly became very sick late last August. Within days, on August 29th, he had to go to the bridge. Here is one of his last photos taken a week before, while he was still home and enjoying life:
Life is fun these days with Sen-Chan and Tom who fill my days with love and joy, but I shall always remember IKKYU who was my very first puss, sharing my life on three continents and filling so many years with the grace of his presence.