The Ordeal of Domino the neko

Domino is a young 3 year old cat, born in a closet in Kawauchi.

Two days ago he had been cooped up for too long and when he had a chance he’d give me the slip…

So when I went to hang out the laundry he went for it but discovered something he didn’t expect!

A parallel world with “no” stuff. Bare walls, no food, no water, and an exact replica only backwards lay beyond a door that was opened by a fudosan to give the apartment some air. He walked around the bedroom and it look just like my bedroom but with no bed, where my bed stand should be wasn’t there either.

As he ventured more into the room he nudged slightly on this half opened this door.

Now in my apartment I’d had to keep opening the door and closing the damn door everytime he wanted in or out so I said for get it I’m going to make a door jam out of a sock so he doesn’t have to nudge so much or open the door handle, but in this parallel world there was no system and expecting the door to stop half way dom rushed into the next room, except the door slammed shut and he was trapped.

Again like the last room there was nothing, no light, no food, no me to save him. There was a window like mine on the other side and dom tried opening the window but it was locked. Oh no a Cat trap!

Dom yelled and yelled and I couldn’t find him anywhere you see I thought he jumped over the balcony wall for freedom not trap his furry tail in the next apartment. I figured he’d return soon enough.

Except he didn’t return… 4pm, 5pm no domino

6pm, 7pm still no domino “where could he be? Domino…?”

8,9, This is too late I gotta find him. “Dom Dom Dom!”

…meow! meow! Dom cried and it sounded like the next apartment. Sure enough I saw him pawing on the glass to help him out.

I live on the six floor on a corner apartment and there’s wall that only cats can squeeze under. It’s bolted in place with 6 nuts and bolts and getting around it is damn impossible. I am no hero spiderman to ninja my way without falling six floors for a cat who had slipped me.  I could see him helplessly asking me to save him, but there was no way around it, over it, under it, or through it without breaking the thing.

I felt like I could do more, but wisdom said to go get help.

I went downstairs to call someone but no one answered.

The apartment phone number we’re supposed to used to report problems was dead.

So it was a quiet night save the yelpings and moanings of one poor ole cat.

The next morning Friday I went downstairs to find the building super attendant, but he wasn’t around. I went back up then checked again at 8am, 8:15, 8:30 no-one… I called the number again and this time someone answered in Japanese…

In my best panicky voice I tried explain that my cat was stuck and he couldn’t get out.

after a few minutes on hold I was transferred to this managerial sounding mad who repeated to me what I had told the last operator.

“…hmm your building super attendant has friday’s off and will be back tomorrow.”

“I see, but I’m worried about that cat does anyone have a key?”

“No only that man knows where that key is, there’s nothing we can do about your cat until tomorrow”

“I see… I know the super is on vacation, but this is my cat! Can he come just once…?!”

“He cannot… Today is his vacation day if we call him in it’ll cost money you will have to pay!”

“How much money is that?”

“We… we cannot call him to come today, we’re sorry gan-man-mo-nai!”

Gan-man-mo-nai? I know what it means, but there’s words you learn you never thought you would hear in conversation and that is one.

It means “There is nothing, but silent suffering”  Which is to say “Tough it out until tomorrow.”


Domino sat on the window sill watching the sun go down and the crows land on the guardrail to mock him.

He looked around the room and imagined my place and tried to hear the music I played from the other apartment. He would try at the door again to open it, but it was too heavy to budge and he’d go back to window sill, cry a bit, then lay down and watch the birds.

The day turned to night and there was nothing I could do or he could do except cry…

and I would listen…. until I fell asleep in my rocking chair… with a single tear falling from my right eye.

I woke up in my bed on Saturday at 6am and couldn’t go back to sleep, it was quiet, the air was still and the guilt rush hit immediately. Saturday he comes in what? around 7ish… It’s trash day so maybe earlier, but not 6am…

I got up and made a pot of coffee… I couldn’t hear anything from the next room and feared for the worst. I’m no cat expert, but two days without water could be bad.

“Dom? DOM? “…. The tea pot whistled and I heard the cat yelp… Flew

I wait until 7:30 sipping my coffee and went downstairs.. The super attendant’s light was on and him and another guy was taking the trash out.

I asked him to help me with the cat at told him the details. He looked over at his friend who asked what was up,

“Neko da yo… neko haiyachatta da.” The cat.. it’s been stuck… “nani? NeKo? ” 

We went up to my floor and the super attendant opened this locked door and put in some combo and out came the key. He opened the door and I went in after the cat. Domino was freaked with the fluffly tail and the bewildered look.

Two days with no one and nothing then all of the sudden two japanese men and me walk in and tries to grab him. The story for domino wasn’t ordeal but looking like:

DOMINO the NEKO-Nightmare of Killer Curiosity!

I kneeled down and said “DOM” he looked up and I grabbed him. I thanked the two men for helping rescue him and jumped into any pair of shoes without looking. I brought domino into my place and showed him the food bowl.

Dom was in shock and had to investigate the place first. The cat looked like he was rebooting… I grabbed some cat treats my mother sent him and fed him like a wild cat. The hunger program was running hard and he ate. The door knocked again

Don don don… suimasen!” I grabbed the wrong shoes and we switched shoes.

I thanked them again and saw dom was doing better and the tail was unfluffed.

Dom looked at me and picked him up took him to his cat tree; showed him his cat toy, and showing him it was ok and he began to purr..

purrr purrr purrr purrr purrr

I turned the heater on and he sat in my lap. No mewing… “I’ve been saved” purrr purrr

Sometimes we all face ordeals and there’s nothing you can do but stick them out and hope for the best. That’s what makes life so great is that by surviving one challenge we know what we can endure.


I’m happy it’s over and so thankful to God that Domino is ok and back to normal.



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