Japanese bobtail cat, domestic: Kano (?), c. 1878 (Library of Congress)
For you fleas too,
The night must be long,
It must be lonely.
-- Issa (1763-1828), translated by Reginald Horace Blyth (1889-1964)
Domestic cat: Kano (?), c. 1878 (Library of Congress)
Asakusa ricefields and Torinomachi Festival, with cat sitting on wall where the sliding panels have been opened, watching the festival procession in the rice paddies nearby, view of Mount Fuji in the distance: Andö Hiroshige, (1797-1858), 1857 (Library of Congress)
A man engaged in metalwork appears to be melting statues to reuse the metal, with a kitten next to his left leg: Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), between 1790-1840 (Library of Congress)
Domestic cat nursing kittens: Tachibana Morikuni (1679-1748), c. 1720 (Library of Congress)
Cat with black markings on its fur and a fragrant rose mallow: Tachibana Morikuni (1679-1748), c. 1720 (Library of Congress)
Woman seated on a bench reading a letter, one end of which a cat is playing with from under the bench: Torii Kiyomitsu, (1735-1785), between 1757-1783 (Library of Congress)
Woman, wearing kimono design identifying her as Gyöja Bushö, holding a toy on a string, playing with a cat: Kubo Shunman (1757-1820), between 1804-1818 (Library of Congress)
Young lady holding a cat: Eisen Ikeda (1790-1848), between 1843-1846 (Library of Congress)
The other day I went to see Dr. Suzuki, who is now, as you know, 93 years old. I asked him a question, holding a cat in my arms, "Which is more important, to be fond of cats (that is, to write haiku) or to understand Zen?" He answered, "They are one and the same thing", and I said to him, "You have passed your examination." But I did not really think so. To be fond of cats and to understand Zen are equally important because they are the same thing. Yes, this is so, but at the same time, what is more important is to be fond of cats.
A cat cleaning its claws: Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), between 1830-1850 (Library of Congress)