Life is hard. Take a load off by watching a Japanese man feed stray cats.
I discovered Niiyan1216, a series of videos where a Japanese man feeds stray cats, over a year ago. I was perusing the subreddit Deep Into YouTube, which is dedicated to finding rare, interesting videos. I’m a huge cat person, so of course I clicked on the thumbnail with a cat in it. It’s not exactly mind-blowing—the channel is just video after video of this man, who rarely, if ever, appears on camera—feeding a group of stray cats.
The videos are short, often under a minute long, and most of them are pretty much the same. There’s something meditative about watching them, though. This 22-second video of an orange cat coming when called just warms my heart.
Over the summer, I helped my friend Rachel feed a few strays that she’s been feeding for years. In the process, I fell in love with Elvis, an enormous tuxedo cat that rubs up against my legs when he sees me coming. Since then, I can’t help noticing whenever I see a stray cat, and there are a lot in New York City. This summer, a stray that lives on my street had kittens. As I watched her protecting them in a patch of unmowed grass, I suddenly wished I could take them all home with me and shower them with love. I settled for buying them a few tins of cat food, which all five cats, mom included, ate eagerly.
I wish I had the time to care for that stray and her kittens in the same way that this man cares for his strays. He has been uploading videos of himself feeding these cats for eight years. While some of the cats come and go, many of the cats have stuck around and formed a bond with him. These cats love and trust him—and are also freaking adorable.
Rachel has told me that if I want Elvis, I can take him home. Once I’ve gotten him properly vetted and microchipped, I want to take him in from the cold. Then I can begin my own endless feed of videos of Elvis being cared for and loved.