Mandarin Orange, Kotatsu, And A Found Cat - Chapter 5 The Cat's Courtesy
It’s been about a week since the TV was installed.
Mashiro has become accustomed to the TV and watches it while relaxing on the sofa or her desk.
Watching TV together like this made me feel more like we are living together rather than owning a cat.
Not that I have any objection to that, but the scene is so natural that I can’t help but laugh a little.
“It’s time to eat, Mashiro.”
When I spoke to Mashiro, who was lying right next to me watching TV, she turned around quietly.
She slowly stretched and before I could turn off the TV, she got off the couch and moved to sit in front of her plate.
…I think my cat is too smart for her own good.
It’s hard to say since I don’t know about other cats, but I wonder if they act similarly to her when hearing human language.
At any rate, I couldn’t keep Mashiro waiting, so I took the food from the shelf in the kitchen and quickly put it on a plate.
Then I put the plate in front of where Mashiro was sitting and went back to the kitchen to get my food.
However, my dinner was the usual convenience store bento. To be honest, I am aware that my eating habits aren’t very healthy.
I know I should be able to cook for myself someday, but I end up stopping at a convenience store on my way home from work because I’m too tired.
I put the convenience store bento in the microwave and fill the bath with hot water while I wait.
When I got back to my room and went to my desk to browse my phone for a little, I noticed that Mashiro hadn’t touched her food yet.
She was sitting firmly in front of her plate, but she didn’t start eating.
“What’s the matter, no appetite?”
I tried to ask her that, but she just turned around once and didn’t respond.
I’m sure I gave her the same food as yesterday, and she doesn’t seem to be feeling bad all day.
I felt a little anxious, and just as I’m about to look it up on my phone, the microwave ringed.
I set my phone down, took out my dinner from the microwave, put it on the desk, and sat down too.
[TLN: Let’s eat.]
I put my hands together and started to eat my dinner.
At the same time, I used my free hand to play with my phone, knowing that it was a bit unmannerly.
As my knowledge about cats is still very limited, I could only rely on my smartphone these days.
I have to distinguish between what is true and false information, but as long as I don’t make mistakes, I can find answers to most of my questions.
As I was thinking of the keyword, I glanced over at Mashiro and saw that she was eating her dinner as if nothing had happened. Apparently, my fears were completely unfounded.
I don’t know what kind of whim it was, but I’m relieved that it wasn’t some kind of physical disorder.
I breathed a sigh of relief and started to eat my rice.
While I ate my food in peace, Mashiro ate all of her food in one sitting.
However, she didn’t go back to her position on the cat-shaped cushion or the sofa but started grooming herself. I was grateful for the opportunity to watch the adorable scene and proceeded to eat my convenience store meal.
[TLN: Thank you for the meal.]
Mashiro finally went back on the sofa after she heard my Gochisousama.
Seeing this, I had a theory about the meaning of Mashiro’s behavior today.
Mashiro was probably waiting for me to start eating, and for me to finish eating.
It might be a normal thing for people to do with each other, but of course, I don’t think cats would care about such things.
It’s more likely that it’s just a coincidence, or maybe I’m just overthinking things because I’m a complete baka caretaker.
But I was still filled with warmth and joy at Mashiro’s behavior.
I made sure the bath wasn’t ready yet, and I went over to the couch to sit right next to her.
Then, even though I know she won’t like it, I reach out my hand to her head.
I gently stroked her head as she stared at the TV.
Mashiro looked a little unhappy, but she didn’t put up much of a fight, probably because she just finished eating.
“Thank you,” I said to Mashiro from the bottom of my heart.
Mashiro didn’t turn to look at me, but kept staring at the TV and replied with a cumbersome “nyaa.”
The next day, I arrived at the office, and, as usual, I told Sakakibara about my fondness for Mashiro to get back at him.
“Sato, this is the third time we’ve talked about this today…”
“That’s even worse…”
I’ve been listening to Sakakibara’s stories about his girlfriend as if they were a joke on me.
It wouldn’t hurt for him to receive a little payback from me.
“Well, she’s really smart, isn’t she? Mashiro-chan.”
“Yeah, to the point where I suspect she can understand human speech.”
I’m still a baka caretaker, but when I told Sakakibara, he had the same reaction as I did.
“Maybe the girl you saved a long time ago turned into a cat and came to return the favor, like the crane returning the favor.”
“It might have been the other way around.”
“Ah, is that so?”
[TLN: Tsuru no Ongaeshi, the story about crane returning a favor.]
We were still having the same brain-dead conversation, and as expected, we got a cold stare from our boss, so we both went right back to work.
However, my mind was completely occupied with Mashiro, and I didn’t get nearly enough work done until my lunch break.
On my way home, I was at the supermarket, which was unusual for me. Normally I go to a convenience store or a pharmacy for Mashiro, but today was special.
I hadn’t been to this supermarket since the day I picked up Mashiro. At that time, I spent a little extra to buy dinner for Mashiro.
It wasn’t a very long time, but it made me feel quite nostalgic.
Mashiro, who was freezing and whimpering weakly that day, is now relaxing at home and eating her food.
Well, she still won’t let me pet her or spoil her…
As smart as she is, she was also very cautious, and the distance between us still remained far.
Sakakibara advised me to put my hand close to Mashiro’s nose so that she would learn to smell it.
Since then, I’ve been touching her nose with my fingertip every day, but she still hasn’t completely opened up to me.
However, I am not in a hurry to close the distance between me and Mashiro. I just want to close the distance between us little by little, and make Mashiro feel at ease from the bottom of her heart.
The reason I’m at the supermarket today is to buy the same thing that I bought the other day.
My favorite food, and Mashiro’s favorite too, salmon sashimi.
Feeding fish was a classic strategy to shorten the distance between us, but it’s not the only one.
I personally want to thank Mashiro for eating dinner at my timing yesterday.
Even if it wasn’t intentional on Mashiro’s part, I wanted to express my gratitude as a personal sentiment.
I bought the salmon I wanted at the supermarket and went home. When I opened the front door, I heard a noise coming from inside.
When I entered the living room, I found Mashiro sitting on the sofa, watching TV as usual.
“Is there any interesting programs?”
After putting down my bag and jacket, I sat down beside Mashiro and spoke to her.
As usual, there was no response. In fact, she looked at me with an indescribable gaze as I sat down next to her and immediately got off the sofa.
I-I guess she really doesn’t like me, doesn’t she…?
A little…no it hurt quite a bit… but I took the things I had bought out of the bag.
She avoided me as much as she could earlier, but when I called out to her, “time to eat,” she walked straight to me.
Apparently, there’s nothing more appealing than food. In a way, it’s sad that the only time I can interact with Mashiro was during dinner.
“We’re having salmon for dinner tonight.”
When I said that, Mashiro’s ears twitched. Then she jumped up on the table.
I was a little surprised at her behavior since she usually sits in front of her plate and waits for me.
“Salmon sashimi, do you remember?”
When I took out the container of salmon and showed it to her, Mashiro made an unusually cute squeal.
She remembered the taste of the salmon she had eaten a while ago. Considering that she had never reacted like this to any other food, it seems that Mashiro likes salmon as much as I do.
Just as I did the other day, I cut the rice into bite-sized pieces with cooking scissors and put them on Mashiro’s plate.
Then, not wanting to keep Mashiro waiting, I quickly prepared my own meal and sat down.
Mashiro started eating after hearing me put my hands together like that. That confirmed it. And at the same time, I’m filled with joy.
I look at Mashiro as she eats her salmon, and I thank her again in my heart.