A Man and His Cat
A Man and His Cat by Umi Sakurai adds a comfortable, enjoyable volume to the growing list of cat manga published in the US (of which the best-known are Chi’s Sweet Home and FukuFuku: Kitten Tales). It’s also one of the first releases from the new Square Enix manga line.
This is my favorite of the genre, because I liked the two main characters. The cat has been at the pet shop long enough that he’s no longer a kitten, and no longer cute. He’s ugly, unwanted, damaged goods. But the older gentleman who takes him home loves him anyway. (We find out later that he’s been widowed.) The two bond instantly. They console each other, which is comforting and reassuring, that everyone can find someone, even if it’s a pet.
The cat is an ugly-cute lump, and the man is drawn as distinguished, in his suit most of the time. The chapters are remarkably short, four pages, meaning each is a crystalline moment of caring, as they debate the cat’s name or the man goes shopping for his new pet or they figure out how to share the bed. The new owner tries to take pictures of his pet, and they deal with workday separation.
Some later, longer chapters give the perspective of a friend who’s a dog, not a cat, person, a co-worker, and a pet shop clerk. I liked A Man and His Cat a lot, because there was plenty for me to enjoy even though I’m not a cat lover. I didn’t have to already know how the animals behave in order to appreciate the emotions behind these chapters.
The only thing I’d tweak about this book is the cat language puns. The cat refers to himself as a “purresent” and says “meowy” instead of “my” and “mew” instead of “you”. It’s affected, but easily enough overlooked.