Cats and Monsters

Catzillas Save the Day

Godzilla, Mothra, Rodan; these are some of Japan’s famous but fictitious monsters of the silver screen. They are giants who get their kicks destroying everything in their path. But in Osaka, several Catzillas, giant cats, are laying havoc on a part of the city’s rail system; and everyone loves it.

Godzilla, Japan’s original train-eating gangsta. Courtesy: Criterion Collection.

Naoki Teraoka, combined his passion for model railroads and cooking when he opened the Diorama Shokudo restaurant in 2018. Customers could enjoy a meal and be entertained by the model trains running through his eatery.

Business was good, until the pandemic hit.

Japan imposed a coronavirus state of emergency in many areas of the country, including Osaka. With few customers supporting his restaurant, Teraoka was on the brink of going out of business. That is until an act of kindness on his part changed everything.

Since cats first appeared on the Japanese islands from Chinese ships in the sixth century, the country is obsessed with the animals. In their folklore, cats are looked upon as bringers of good luck and fortune.

In June, 2020, Teraoka noticed a sickly kitten outside his restaurant. The feline was about 10 days old and was at death’s door. Despite his financial difficulties, Teraoka brought the cat in to save it. He named him Simba.

Naoki Teraoka discovers what lurks under Mt. Catzilla. Courtesy: diorama_syokudou/Instagram.

The following day, another cat came to the restaurant and looked in the window. This cat repeated this day after day during a particular period of heavy rain. Teraoka decided to feed this cat as well since there was plenty of unused food because of poor business. Turned out the feline was Simba’s mother and she had a surprise for the restauranteur.

On another rainy night, Simba’s mother, who Teraoka named Sarah, brought in three more kittens, and so the financially strapped restaurant owner had more cats to feed.

β€œIt was a financially difficult time for us, but we decided to help the cat family,” Teraoka told Bored Panda. “Yes, we thought we were helping them, but they were the ones who helped us.”

The cats began to hang out on the model railroad, sometimes watching the trains or just chilling and sleeping on the layout. These Catzillas towered over the model structures and trains. They were a lot cuter than the traditional Japanese film monsters and much less destructive, sort of.

Catzilla isn’t pussy footing around. Courtesy: @officia86839977/Twitter.

With that, Teraoka had a new business model for his restaurant; cats, a model railroad and food. That formula could work most anywhere, but in cat crazy Japan, it was a surefire plan for prosperity.

Teraoka took photos of the cats interacting with the model train set and posted them on Instagram. That grabbed the attention of the public who started to arrive from all over Japan to see the felines do their Catzilla thing.

Catzilla stalking unsuspecting train. Courtesy: Kimu-chan/YouTube.

So, while the cats were bringing in more customers, Teraoka was rescuing additional cats from the streets. Now there are 14 Catzillas roaming his restaurant. Besides walking around the train diorama, the cats visit the customers while they eat their meals.

For his gratitude by what the Catzillas did for his business, Teraoka continued to grow his efforts to help more cats. He opened a cat shelter and cat hotel on the second floor of his building where patrons can mingle with the cats. If they make a connection, they can adopt an animal. So far Teraoka has helped rescue over 100 cats and seen more than 60 adopted.

In the end, the cats and Naoki Teraoka can look at each other as bringers of good luck and fortune for each other.

Our cat Chester thought the videos of the Catzillas were some of the favorite things he’d ever seen.

“That looks like a lot of fun,” Chester said. “It’s Disneyland for cats, without the lines.

“To be a monster cat and destroy stuff is my kind of fun. Why don’t you build me a model railroad so I can be a Catzilla?”

“Because we don’t have any room for something like that,” I countered. “And I don’t want you to go around the house breaking stuff because you think you’re Catzilla.

“If you want to fantasize that you’re a terrifying monster cat, fine. Use your imagination or keep watching the videos from Japan.”

“You don’t have anything I can play with to make me think I’m a Catzilla,” Chester asked in a desperate tone.

“Grace and Lily (our daughters) still have a dollhouse in the basement. I can take that out for you to be Catzilla. Will that satisfy your lust for dominance over mankind?”

A Japanese Chester doppelganger yelling, “Stop that train! ” Courtesy: diorama_syokudou/Instagram.

“It’s a start,” our wannabe Colossus of Connecticut cat said.

“And how come Japan has all these monsters,” Chester asked. “I thought the USA would be a leader in that area.”

“We are,” I said as Chester’s head snapped around.

“Really,” our cat replied in disbelief.

“Really,” I confirmed.

“How come I never heard about this,” Chester said in the voice of a mother asking why her kids thought it was a good idea to paint the living room wall with crayons.

“Because you’re a cat,” I reminded the cat. “You never heard of Catzilla until a few minutes ago. If you want to be a movie expert, start reading IMDb.

“Go back to 1933, that’s like over five 18-year-old cat lives ago, ” I said, doing the math so Chester would understand how far back that was. He just stared at me when I said it.

“There was an American film called King Kong and he did a number on New York City,” I explained.

“How big of a cat was this King of Kong,” Chester inquired.

“It’s King Kong and he was a giant gorilla, not a cat,” I said as Chester’s ears drooped in disappointment. “He got to break up trains too.”

So, I showed our tabby a clip of King Kong wreaking havoc on NYC’s subway system. Chester was interested, but not as much as viewing Catzillas destroying a model railway.

“Any giant cats crushing trains you can show me” Chester purred.

“Would destroying a city be OK,” I asked.

“Yeah,” Chester said excitedly. So, I pulled a clip from The LEGO Ninjago Movie and showed the giant tabby, Meowthra taking it to a LEGO city. This pleased Chester.

“Forget the dollhouse, I want you to build me a LEGO city so I can be Meowthra,” Chester said, delighted at the prospect of having super powers over mere mortal LEGO people and their metropolis.

Meowthra’s fixation with a laser pointer leads to mass destruction in Ninjago City. Courtesy: Warner Brothers.

“It’s your lucky day cat,” I said, as Chester gave me his full attention. “We also have a bucket of LEGO’s in the basement and I’d be happy to build you a movie set for you to waylay on.”

“This is going to be a great day,” Chester (aka Meowthra) exclaimed.

After building the LEGO city for Chester to play out his Meowthra fantasies, I watched our joyful cat pretend to be a giant feline, taking it to little people and their habitat. Then I would rebuild LEGO land and Chester repeated the destruction. It was fun the first few times for me, but I got tired of putting together another toy city and went upstairs.

“Where are you going,” Chester said sadly. “Who’s going to rebuild my city so I can wreck it again?”

“You’re smart,” I said to butter Chester up. “I bet there’s a YouTube video that shows how a cat can construct a LEGO city.”

With that I went up the steps to watch a game on TV.

Chester does his Meowthra imitation.

An hour later I heard the pitter patter of Chester’s paws coming up the stairs and stopping by my chair with a disgruntled look on his puss.

“The only video’s I can find are people building stuff for cats, not cats constructing anything for themselves,” a perturbed Chester said.

“Then I suggest you research how to become a general contractor,” I offered. “Then you can hire a human, who you can pay with some of that money you garnered from your GameStop stock manipulation.

“But you can’t use the basement, or anywhere else in the house. I know what you’ll want, the largest LEGO city ever built. We don’t need to hear all that construction. In fact, look for a park or somewhere in the woods. I don’t want to deal with the Planning and Zoning Commission to get a waiver for your enjoyment.”

“You’re no fun,” Chester yelled.

Then the game I was watching was replaced by Animal Planet. I looked over to see Chester in another chair with the remote and a big scowl on his face directed at me.

“We’re watching My Cat from Hell,” Chester growled. “I need some good trash television and don’t get any ideas about changing the channel or I’ll go Meowthra on you.”

Since Chester was due to have his nails clipped at the vet, I thought it was wise to listen to him. Besides, My Cat from Hell is not only good trash TV, but a good pet that lives with us as well.

Do Not Disturb

For those of you who currently have or have had teenagers. You know that getting them to make their beds can be a battle.

Without getting into all the psychological warfare that may take place, there’s an excellent chance that if you made the bed for your teens, they wouldn’t complain as they do when you want them to do it themselves.

But what about a cat?

No, you’re not asking your cat to make their bed or anyone else’s. However, what happens if Fluffy has a hissy fit when you’re trying to make your own bunk?

That’s the situation the owner of a cat named Albus Dumblepaw was in.

The woman who goes by the TikTok name @neontacocat, posted a video showing the strange reaction of Albus when it’s time to make the bed.

As the woman approaches the stripped bed, Albus goes into a strange cat song and dance routine whose artistic interpretation screams, “leave the bed alone.”

Apparently, it’s OK for kitty to sleep 12-14 hours a day, but not its owner who only needs seven or eight hours for a good night’s rest.

The only thing I can think of is that Albus believes in the real estate mantra, location, location, location. The bedroom has a nice window to get a good view of the birds in the trees, so I get it.

Still, if Mr. Dumblepaw must have his own bed, buy him one from IKEA and let him put it together.

You can’t be called a self-sufficient cat unless you can make your own bed.

Yes, I’m putting the burden back on the cat just like I did with Chester and his DIY search to build a LEGO city. At some point, a cat has to take responsibility for itself. That’s called tough love.

Insominiacat

While one cat won’t let its owner make the bed, another won’t let its owner enjoy a peaceful night’s rest in one.

Susie (no last name given), who lives in the United Kingdom, couldn’t figure out why she was always feeling exhausted when she woke up in the morning. She went to bed sleepy, but she was still tired the following day.

To find out why she was sleep deprived, Susie set up a night vision camera to record her attempt at snoozing undisturbed.

When Susie looked at the night’s recording, she learned the answer to her sleeplessness. Her big orange cat, Ginger.

The camera doesn’t lie. Courtesy: @susieandmillie/TikTok

If you’re a cat owner, there’s a good chance you have experienced the unwelcome sounds of your cat in the middle of the night. That’s because cats are crepuscular, that is they’re active at twilight when they hunt. They can also be more active at night as Susie found out with Ginger.


“Cats know instinctively the exact time their masters are going to wake up, and wake them ten minutes earlier.”

Jim Davis

FETCH by WebMD list a number of behaviors of nocturnal cats, several of which Susie experienced.

  • Wild, excited play across you or your furniture 
  • Nibbling your toes while you sleep
  • Attacking your ears while you sleep
  • Walking across you while you sleep
  • Crying or yowling

The last item is what got Chester banished to the basement following his nightly strolls up and down the hallway trying to wake us up for some bonus kibble. We didn’t need a night vision camera to figure that out.

Of course, it worked out for our tenacious tabby, because when we exiled him, it took extra kibble for Chester to be coaxed downstairs. So, he got what he wanted anyway.

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