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14 Dec, 2018 13:06

Cat gifted by Putin understands Japanese, Akita prefecture governor says

Cat gifted by Putin understands Japanese, Akita prefecture governor says

A Siberian kitten, gifted to the head of Japan’s Akita Prefecture by Vladimir Putin six years ago, has since grown up into a big fluffy cat, who has learned to understand Japanese and wake his owner up at 6am demanding food.

The Russian president gave Norihisa Satake the 11-month-old grey kitten called Mir (‘Peace’) in 2012, after the governor gave him an Akita Inu pup named Yume (‘Dream’) as a sign of gratitude for Russia helping Japan deal with the aftermath of a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Having a big, powerful stature, Siberian male cats can weigh up to 12kg – and Mir is no exception. “The cat is healthy, he has become huge, already weighing eight kilos,” Satake said.

Satake, who has been governing the central Akita Prefecture for nearly 10 years, is a known cat lover, so Mir was a perfect gift. “In total, I have seven cats, the other six get along well with him.”

He understands Japanese. The cat responds immediately. At six in the morning, he asks for food – he comes up, touches my shoulder with his paw and starts meowing.

Satake revealed that his children call the cat ‘Miru-bo’, with ‘bo’ being a suffix typically used for little boys and cute pets.

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Putin wasn’t the only Russian official to present a feline to a foreign leader. In 2013, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev gave the former Finnish President Tarja Halonen a Neva Masquerade cat named Maggie.

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