Mitis with the Meissner Family
First of all, we would like to thank to the Meissner Family for accepting our interview on a special day. We had an interview at their place in Naval Air Facility Atsugi.
It was the morning of Thanksgiving Day and was by chance their 18th wedding anniversary. The family kindly shared some time with us while they were cooking big turkeys for dinner. We hope you all will enjoy the story of the family and their cat, Mitis.
Mitis, the curious cat
― Mitis was a rescued cat?
That’s right. He was rescued by a girl on base that does cat rescue. Someone found some kittens (1 girl and 3 boys) under the church of Camp Zama within a few weeks of birth and brought them to her.
She was looking for home for these kittens just when we were thinking of having a cat. We went to play with them at her place and chose Mitis to welcome to our family.
Lucas, my oldest son came up with this name, Mitis, from a musician he likes and we all voted to choose.
― He is small. How old is he now?
We don’t know his birthday but the Vet in Zama Base said he is around 7 months old. Mitis still had baby teeth that usually come out after 3 to 6 months of birth when we took him to be micro-chipped and immunization. We have a rule in the base that every dog and cat has to be chipped and take immunization.
― He is very friendly. It was nice he came up to the door and welcomed us.
Yes!! He is very curious. He meets people at the door even if they are strangers.
He wakes Lucas up to get breakfast every morning
― Is there anything he likes?
He likes toys very much. He tries to take a toy from the boys and carries around the house once he gets it. He likes yarns and strings and loves playing in boxes, too. He gets into a box as soon as he finds a box and seems very happy being inside. We threw his favorite big cardboard away this morning. So he isn’t happy right now.
― Anything he doesn’t like?
He doesn’t like being wet. But he will go on a shower room. After someone took a shower last time, he walked into and got wet. Then, he was panicking and shaking his legs hard. hahaha
― If he doesn’t like being wet that much, you can’t shampoo him?
Yes, but he is self-clean. Hahaha
Carter, my youngest son was trying to take him a shower once but it didn’t work. Ah, he doesn’t like a vacuum, either. He watches from far though. He always has to watch.
― How does he spend a day?
He gets up when David gets up around 5:30am and wanders a bit. He comes back to bed and sleep with me for a while. Then, when kids start getting up, he gets up again. Lucas, my oldest son usually feeds him in every morning so he eats. Then, again he goes back to bed. Hahaha.
It seems like he remembers Lucas is the one who feeds him. So, he goes to his bed and wakes him up saying 「I want my breakfast」. Ethan, my middle son says Mitis comes to his bed when Lucas doesn’t wake up….but….from what I know, Ethan is the last one to get up so maybe to Carter, my youngest son next? Hahaha
― Do you feed him canned foods?
He likes fish but I sometimes order canned chicken and turkey from the US to balance his nutrition. We moved to Japan in August last year and didn’t know in language wise what cat food we can buy here. So, all I remember first was the word of まぐろ（Tuna in Japanese）I can shop for his food here now and he likes them, too :)
Mitis’s daily routine
― What’s he doing during the day time?
He basically sleeps most of the day until the boys come home from school. On someone’s bed, backpacks and couch etc., he changes sleeping spots a lot. If I am working, he will sleep on a chair next to me.
― I’ve heard you design and make wooden sign boards for your Fried Okra Designs. What things in your apartment did you make or design?
I have made the Japan sign. The big American flag and the signs that list all the places we have lived. The house rules sign, Whidbey Island sign, and the welcome sign outside my door. I also have repainted many things to make fit my style of decorating. I sometimes have classes for art and craft. We made wooden snowmen last month.
― On our interview day, I saw “Today is going to be a great day” on the chalkboard next to the kitchen. Why did you choose this quote?
I usually pick a quote that goes with the time of year or what is going on in the house for that chalkboard. I picked that last time to remind us that even if we are having a bad morning that it can still be a great day if we chose.
― Did you come up with the idea of the sign board “HOUSE RULES” ? Especially this one “Trust in yourself” reminds me of the house rules that can be in Japanese families.
I found a picture on the internet and I wanted to make one that was personalized to my family.
I made it about 3 or 4 years ago. I loved the idea of have a visual reminder of things you should or should not do. A lot of the things listed are values that I want my boys to live by.
Since have 3 boys ‘don’t play ball in the house ‘ always seems to be a problem. They love to throw around a baseball or football or dribble the basketball no matter how many times they are told not to. It is like a biological need. ;)
― By the way, did you make the cat-tower in the balcony?
Yes, we made it for him. But Ethan sat on the first step and broke it. Hahaha. We are going to fix though.
He likes to sit out when the weather is nice and he will watch the kids coming home. Somehow he knows when kids are coming home and meets them at the door. I think he likes them a lot. He also likes to watch the crows, planes, helicopters, jets flying out, too.
― Mitis and the boys seems to have lots of fun.
Carter and Mitis wrestle on the floor, tag each other like chasing in the evening. Mitis always wins. Haha.
When the boys play with phones or Tablets in evening, it will make a reflection on the ceiling and Mitis looks at it and makes a little chirping noise. I don’t know what he’s trying to say but it makes him a little crazy.
A great entertainer, Mitis
― What do you all like about him?
He deals with us really well. He lets the boys pick him up and be carrying him around. And he is playful. It’s nice watching them having fun together.
He normally doesn’t like to sit on you. But when he is not feeling well, feeling tired or when we’ve been gone for a while, he’ll sit on you. When he wants to be with you, you can tell because he follows you. He is showing his feeling through these behaviors.
― You are building a good relationship with him. Are there any troubles you have with him?
He is very strong headed. He wants what he wants. I don’t want him to be on a counter but he still does that even if I tell him not to many times.
― Does he do anything bad on a counter?
Actually, not really. He watches me cook. Must be wondering what I am cooking and enjoying the smell. I know I have to train him not to be on a counter not only for the safety but also it’s our meal place.
― Your husband is helping you cook in the kitchen while we are interviewing with you. He must be very kind.
Well, today is our 18th wedding anniversary with 3 boys :))
― What kind of family your would like to make towards the future? Any feelings to your family and Mitis?
I want my boys to grow up to be responsible, caring, trustworthy young men that look out for each other. I don’t think he has changed my design other than a few cat footprints when he has walked through wet paint . :) He is very good at keeping me company while I work thought.
Mitis is great entertainment!! Everyone is always checking on him to make sure he is ok. When you are in a bad or sad mood he is a great mood changer. Kitten snuggles are the best!
David, Lacy, Lucas, Ethan, Carter, and Mitis
Brown tabby / Male
Birthday: March 2014
photo Jun Takahashi
translation Chiyoko Kimura