ICHIRO was a homeless cat living around Tarui Station ( Nankai Line,West Japan, near KIX---Kansai International Airport). As he had no feeling of hatred towards people, he was everyone's pet passing around this station. My wife always felt sorry for his situation, and gave him a small amount of pet food every time she passed by. I saw him many times lying under the feet of students having chats and waiting for friends. He was given food by those students and elderly people coming around the station. His left foot was lost at the first joint and walked with a slight limp.
One evening in October two years ago, my wife came to the station to drive me home. At the first glance, I found her attitude strange. "Something has happened to him", she said, "He is severely ill with a deep cut at the neck. He does not move much ." Ichiro had a wide and deep wound , so deep that the inside of the muscles could be seen. We didn't know how he had received such injuries、might have suffered from cat fights or ．．．. After we gave him the first aid, we decided to take him home for the night. He didn't move much due to the deep injury and didn't eat much. We closed all the windows and doors so that he could not go out. We were worried that if he had gone out, he would not come back again. Bad smells filled the room probably because of the severely damaged muscles and other tissues and because of his long homeless life.
We took him to an animal hospital early the next morning . The doctor said Ichiro would need to be hospitalized, examined and to be operated for the injuries. Examination revealed that he had cat AIDS. The doctor told us that he was not sure Ichiro could recover the deep injuries especially with AIDS. Ichiro was an obedient "patient", and he could receive the treatment smoothly. Although the injuries recovered gradually after the two-months-hospitalization, the skin needed to be transplanted. Because he had cat AIDS, we were anxious about whether he could tolerate the operation or not. Ichiro could finally overcome the poor condition and the day of discharge came.
On coming back to our home ,he wore a "necker" around the neck to prevent him from licking the wounds and from scratching them with his feet. We called the necker "Elizabeth" from the style he had it on. We gave him my daughter's room as his living room, and prepared the toilet and the bedroom. He found it hard to eat food and more difficult to drink water. He gradually got used to it, living with the necker. He'd walk around the room, to and from the kitchen. As he followed us, his pushing with the necker sometimes hurt our lower legs.
The injuries recovered well step by step, faster than we had expected. We tried to get the "Elizabeth" off to ease his eating and drinking many times, but he licked and scratched the wounds soon after we removed the necker. His action like this repeated many times. Hair around the wound did not grow easily. Sometimes we worried that Ichiro would need the necker throughout his life. We decided to keep him at our home as it was impossible to return him to his original residence in this condition. "ICHIRO" was the name we gave him to wish his early recovery and good health after the name of the famous professional baseball player.
Coming into the rut, he cried all night long, which prevented us from a sound sleep. We had no choice other than castration. Slight hair began to grow around the wounds at the beginning of winter. We removed the necker. He scratched . He licked. Put the "Elizabeth" back on. Removed the necker again. He licked. He scratched . Put it back on again.... We repeated these actions many many times. Sometimes he, with "Elizabeth",tried to sneak into "Kotatsu", a Japanese heater. We were worried of it cathing fire.
In spring, the surface of the skin did not easily come off even with a slight scratching. It was in May we could at last remove "Elizabeth".
Now he's almost back to an original cat. He is doing very well, eats and sleeps well, mews a lot. He runs around the rooms energetically, and he's become naughty now. He is acting differently from how he acted when he first came. He recently learnt how to open the door of the microwave oven and to steal the food from the inside.
The people who were cherishing him at the station may think that he has already gone to the other world. The injuries he received were so severe that I do not blame those people who think he had gone. They must be relieved to hear that he survived and is doing very well now. We do not allow him to go outside at the present time. But in the near future he will have fun playing outside of our house.