Holy shit, y’all! I am feeling rather mind-blown right about now, knowing that I’m currently writing my 1,000th post for BiblioNyan!
When I began my blog 54 years ago, in a galaxy as far away as the Seven Hell’s, I never imagined that I would make it to this particular place. Shit, I never thought that I would have approximately 1,200 followers either. Or that all these years later, it would go from being a small, humble book review space to this media-centric home, looking to expand in all the ways possible. There is just so much that I have accomplished here without realising it and there’s still more stuff planned for the future too, and I’m really excited about all of it. Even so, the one thing that I feel above all else, is gratitude.
I am so immensely thankful for everyone who has reached out to support this space in one form or another, where just by silently reading, or by subscribing and commenting and sharing and interacting, or by any other shenanigans—however that you have engaged with this blog, the appreciation is felt right down to the hollow centres of my heart and my bones. So, to you I say THANK YOU!
As I mentioned above briefly, BiblioNyan shall be expanding and offering up some interesting things in the near and distant future, and I’m supremely excited to talk about those when they are more finalised out. In the meantime, to commemorate this glorious achievement, I wanted to do something a tad bit silly and not unlike me at all: use my cats to celebrate the things that basically create the backbone of BiblioNyan.
I have four beautifully rambunctious kitty cats and I have never sat down and talked about them in detail before. So, I’m going to do that today and then share with you all recommendations for video games, anime/manga, and books based off their unique personalities. The challenge of it sounded like fun, and it’s silly and cat-infused enough to be right on-brand here.
Shinobi the Demonic Shadow
Ah, Shinobi is an all-black cat that we adopted in October 2016. She was a present from Madame Gabs. When we visited her at the shelter, they literally had to shake her out of her tiny little cat tower to get her to come out. She hid under the bench in the small room where we were introduced and then shortly thereafter, she crawled into my lap and draped herself across me and Gabs. She was super cuddly and cute, but I wanted to make sure she’d be a good fit with the other rascals I had at home. So, we looked at a couple of other cats, but none of them had the sweetheart vibe that Shinobi did. During our second hangout with her, she climbed my arse like a goddamn palm tree, and I knew in that moment, she was perfect for our Madhouse.
She had some generic and boring name when we brought her home. It wasn’t until the first week of watching her sneak out from beneath a coat rack while we took turns sleeping with her in the room where she was kept that we realised she wasn’t quite the kitty we thought she was. After she was introduced to the others, and after about a month of watching her trying to climb the hallway walls during random bouts of energy at two or three in the morning, the creepy way she seemed to just instantly transport herself from one end of the house to the next, that we realised she was basically a ninja cat. Aptly naming her Shinobi, she has gloriously (and terrifyingly) lived up to that name ever since. While the last six years have been a bit of a learning curve for all of us (she was an abused kitten who was pretty traumatised when we got her), it helped us all to grow for the better and learn that we are capable of amazing growth and patience and love when given the chance.
Her personality overall is one of wackiness, but she’s also extremely alert and territorial about the outside space of the house (she’s indoors-only but likes to sit in the windows and yell at other cats like a cranky old geezer). She is supremely spirited and boisterous, and you honestly never know what to expect when you’re around her, aside from maybe being tripped by her without realising it while she zips on by at 10 light-years per second.
VG Rec: The Cat Lady – Chosen because it’s a game where as you play, you don’t know what to expect. There is a lot of subtext here and tons of symbolism, but that unpredictability and raw human emotion really reminded me a lot of Shinobi, especially with her being an abused kitten who was wrapped in such intense fear and trauma when we adopted her.
Manga/Anime Rec: My Roommate is Cat – About a dude who adopts a cat without knowing a goddamn thing about caring for kittens and through trial-and-error they end up helping one another, even though there is quite a bit of rowdy messiness in that process. It’s so heart-warming, but funny and endearing in its chaos.
Book Rec: Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe – About a kid who has a troubled home-life and ends up embarking on a grand adventure to find a way to help his family. Like The Cat Lady, the story is about self-discovery in the face of great loneliness and adversity, and even though it’s emotional and intense, the unknown of what is to come and the journey it creates is just so remarkable.
Kiki the Squeaky
Kiki is a tabby kitty with a stumpy tail. She was the runt of her litter and was originally my mate’s kitty. But when Miss Mate moved to Japan for a few years, she gave me Kiki. Knowing of my love for these furry felines, Miss Mate knew that Kiki would be well taken care of. Kiki grew attached to Madame Gabs almost instantly, so we joke around that she’s more Gabs’ kitty than anything else.
The first week or so was spent with her hiding under my bed. She only crept out when I was asleep to sneak kibble and water before promptly running back to the confines of the dark under-bed alley. Eventually, she was brave enough to climb into the bed and slept close to the edge so she could make her escapes. Then once she knew that the most harmful thing I would do is take an annoying amount of pictures of her face, she started to acclimate to being a part of the family. Her favourite place to sleep became the largest stack of blankets on the bed, or promptly atop my folded t-shirts that I had on a cabinet next to said bed. My black shirts miraculously turned orange until I moved to a place with an actual closet.
Kiki has been in our loving care for just over six years and she is a total sweetheart. She’s definitely shy around new people, but she warms up quickly to people she can sense are kind. Needy as hell yet heavily loving and cuddly and affectionate, Kiki is the perfect cat to have sleeping at your feet while you read or unwind for the night. When she’s not being a love-bug, she’s marvellously adventurous and curious, and has an unhealthy knack of chewing on just about everything. One time we caught her trying to chew through Gabs’ textbooks. Granted it was a boring and utterly useless flam of a book, but still… I wouldn’t be surprised if Kiki is part goat.
VG Rec: To the Moon – Chosen because it’s a story about loyalty and love, even when the relationship is fraught with challenges, such as having a partner who has an illness. The sense of devotion that can only be experienced via lifelong companionship is bittersweet yet tender and incredibly moving, reminding me of Kiki’s love and companionship.
Manga/Anime Rec: Chi’s Sweet Home – The entire adventures of Chi—who is an abandoned kitten—finding a home and then learning about the family and getting acclimated to them is lovely and adorable and entertaining and always reminds me of Kiki and the learning shenanigans we both faced with trying to get to know each other.
Book Rec: Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto – A story about moving forward happily in the face of grief, and understanding that losing loved ones doesn’t have to be the end of a journey, but the beginning of a whole new one. Plus, the wisdom from those aching moments and events, leave behind impactful lessons so we can be more prepared to handle the next hurdle, which for Kiki was moving into a brand-new home very shortly after having been re-homed with me to begin with, for example.
Cantankerous Azizi Cat
Azizi was my very first cat! Well, him and his brother both were as they were adopted together. When I first went to the shelter, adopting a pair of brothers seemed like a great idea because that way they wouldn’t get separated and they could entertain one another while I was away at school or work. His most defining feature as a kitten were his ears. Holy Hell, they were fucking humongous! I wondered if he’d ever grow into them or just have these giant pointed tents on his head like a chihuahua. Luckily, he grew into them.
Azizi was always the handsome boy that everyone fawned over. He has these grey spots on the sides of his nose that look like a mustachio, and his eyes were always large and beady and filled with excitement. He also has the funniest way of running, where his behind sort of veers to the left and his back legs are spread out all wildly. When he used to be an indoor-outdoor kitty, he would roll around in the dry dirt to cool off and hide in the bushes so he could pop out and attack our feet. He also really loved to nap in the hammock with me.
However, as a senior kitty dude and full-time indoors grump, he has grown into a more subdued and cranky old man. After having serious abdominal surgery in 2018, he developed severe anxiety problems, specifically with darkness and being alone. Because of that, he’s on medication now and tends to be anti-social most of the time but likes to know that his humans are within reach if he starts getting uncomfortable or just wants to be a needy pain in the butt-cheeks. He is somewhat Madame Gabs’ kitty in that they both have cranky personas, usually in the morning and at night (it’s far cuter than it sounds), but deep down inside (deep, deep, deeeeeep), he’s my son at heart. He even sleeps on my pillow with me.
VG Rec: The Witcher – Azizi is Geralt with his cranky ass personality and the gruff way he interacts with people, plus the way he approaches people when he feels lonely and needy but would otherwise prefer to be left utterly alone. Geralt is also misunderstood as a character and rather than take time to understand him, people would rather make presumptions and wallow in those hurtful judgments, which reminded me a lot of how much Azizi gets misjudged by people because of his surface-level crankiness. Deep down, he’s a total sweetheart though.
Manga Rec: Yon & Mu: Junji Itō’s Cat Diary – This non-fiction manga is a great portrayal of what it is like to live with cats for the first time and it resonated so much with me, reminding me of all the shenanigans that I experienced when I first adopted Azizi and his brother. It’s equal parts hilarious and charming and relatable.
Anime Rec: Tada Never Falls in Love – Nyanko Big from this anime instantly reminded me of Azizi! His beautifully round and chubby shape, the way he warms up to certain people, but will gladly attack the one idiot he doesn’t like. The way he tries to sneak food off the plate and the way he chases the lady kitty he has feels for (Azizi has feels for Shinobi, which is as amusing as it is awkward).
Book Rec: Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami – A book about two people who struggle with what it means to get older and how they find comfort in each other’s presence while they try to figure it all out. It’s a bittersweet story that’s stunningly written and very contemplative on the nature of life and what we want to accomplish or leave behind when one day we will cease to exist.
Sir Khebbertons the King of My Heart
Kheb is 100% my cat, through and through, heart and soul. We are pretty much attached at the fucking hip and are supremely inseparable. The first day I brought him home, he fell asleep next to my knee with this tiny little kitten fangs hanging out. I pulled a small blanket over him and then he drooled all over my leg. It was then that I knew he was my boi. He’s even named after one of my favourite TV serials of all-time (just Google “Kheb and TV,” the first result shall reveal all).
Growing up, Kheb has always been curious but very dapper and neat. When he runs, he basically prances. If it’s a full-speed run, then it’s very panther-like and graceful. He hates being dirty and unclean, but he did enjoy rolling around in dry dirt on hot days and then having me brush him clean. Kheb has never liked anyone else playing with him (poking him or petting him or touching him in general) except for me. He would climb onto my tummy and lay there while I would read. We once spent about five hours just laying on the couch while I finished reading A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin. At night, he has always slept snuggled up by my side or draped across or in-between my knees.
Kheb’s personality is one of complete loyalty and kindness and purest companionship. He is my best friend and the love of my life, and basically the soul of my existence. We share everything together. He is also the world’s most pretentious boob, as you can see from his “boating” photo.
VG Rec: Never Alone – Of course, this game came to mind when I thought of Kheb. It’s a story about an Inuit girl and her fox friend as they search for the source of an eternal blizzard before they lose everything that they have ever known. All they have is each other on this dangerous and mysterious journey to secure their future.
Manga Rec: Planetes by Makoto Yukimura – One of my favourite manga serials ever, I recommend this because it’s really a story about the characters and their struggles individually, whether it’s trying to pursue a dream of reaching a particular planet or moon, or trying to find their way back to their loved ones, or merely trying to survive in the wake of great loss. Each character has their own baggage and they each have to find a path that works best for them, even if others don’t believe in it. With regard to Kheb, it reminds me of how much crap I get for loving a cat as much as I do, but that’s because people who make these callous judgements can never understand the depth of where my love for him stems from and why it’s such a vital thing.
Anime Rec: She & Her Cat – An anime that is about a cat who has been with his human companion since she was a little girl. He watched her grow up and then move out on her own and struggle to find work and get her feet settled on the ground. This anime, as well as the book recommendation below, is a great portrayal of what Kheb and I are together. He’s been by my side for 11 years and has, in many ways, watched me grow up and find my feet, and together we continue our journeys side by side no matter where it takes us.
Book Rec: The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa – Hailed as my favourite book in existence, and also the book that broke me in such a ferocious fashion that I have yet to recover, two years later, it’s a story about a cat and his human and their unbreakable, solid bond to one another; a bond that can’t be shattered even in the midst of the inevitable nature of death. Another shining example of my companionship with Kheb.
Thank you for sharing this 1,000th post celebration with me! I hope y’all shall enjoy these recommendations and candid kitty anecdotes. I raise my cup of chai to another 1,000 posts, Insha’Allah!