Image Source: 【公式】タテアニメ on Twitter
One’s a kitten in Japan. One’s a kitten in England. They’re both cute. But they’re both cheeky to their elders.
I’ve been watching the Simon’s Cat series of videos since my college days, watching the antics of a fat cat on my iPhone 4 in my dorm room. Simon’s Cat is a (mostly) black-and-white, (mostly) silent animated movie series produced by a British guy who owns cats. Similarly, a manga titled Kuruneko is written by a Japanese woman who adopts cats and takes care of them, and depicts said cats’ antics.
Now, something you have to know, is that Japan loves its cats. Cats are often used as mascots for various services, and cat cafes—places that let you interact with cats as you drink a cup of coffee or tea—are very popular. Possibly because of this obsession with cats, Kuruneko has been adapted into anime twice in the past, and the newest adaptation is a vertical short anime on the app “Tate Anime.”
The anime follows Kuru-san, a woman who constantly takes in new cats off the street. She lives with her cat Mon-san, who is basically the female cat leader of the house. Kuru-san also picks up Pocchan, a cat who had been thrown away on the side of the road. While the two cats get along, they both have a problem with Bon, a kitten Kuru-san found on a tree, unable to get down.
Image Source: 【公式】タテアニメ on Twitter
Right off the bat, the Bon begins taking over the house, immediately using the other cats’ litter box, to which Mon-san and Poko look on in horror. When Kuru-san won’t pay attention to him, he jumps on top of the two older cats with no hesitation, obviously irritating his elders, and eventually being bitchslapped by Mon-san. The narrator quips that this is Bon’s lesson about cat society. Despite this, he just keeps attempting to screw with her.
Similarly, the new family member in Simon’s household only known as “Kitten” doesn’t hesitate to ignore the pecking order and starts torturing the fat, gluttonous older cat known only as “Simon’s Cat.” He crawls on the curtains, tries to steal his elder’s food, and yes, poops in his litter box. Despite being at the bottom of the social ladder, this kitten completely ignores the pecking order and causes havoc for this cat who once had the house to himself. In retaliation, Simon’s Cat bats his paw at the little one, sits on him, and chases after him. (Just as a note, the entire house is left in shambles due to this dominance battle.)
The resemblance between these two situations is uncanny.
Cats are very territorial, and this is a hierarchy amongst even house cats. When a new cat joins a household, this feline is forced to try and claim dominance and their own territory. Of course, the other cats in the house will do their best to block off any attempts at conquest. Hence, the cats in both Kuruneko and Simon’s Cat don’t welcome the new kitten with open arms: They instead give them hostility in order to assert their dominance in this feline social order. It’s the adults that have to teach the naive young what the hierarchy is in their society.
Whether a cat lives in Japan, Britain, or the United States, they’re still going to be just that: cats. And cats—namely kittens—are cheeky as hell, not giving a crap about what their elders or owners think, as long as it’s fun for them.
Kuruneko is streaming on the Japanese Tate Anime app. There is currently no word on an English release. You can go watch Simon’s Cat now on the official YouTube channel now, though.