When Japanese photographer Akiko DuPont rescued a tiny ginger kitten named Kinako, it was on something of a whim. DuPont never expected just how much Kinako would change her life – and her grandfather's life – for the better.
DuPont’s grandfather, whom she calls Jiji, is 94-years-old, and was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago. Since his diagnosis, DuPont began to notice a change in him.
"I think when you learn that you have Alzheimer's, it is easy to start feeling scared, lonely, sad and lost," DuPont shared in an interview with The Dodo. "I saw that in him. He tried to hide it, but I could see it. He was still Jiji, a loving man. But he gradually began to make a wall between himself and other people."
When DuPont adopted little Kinako from a friend who no longer wanted him, she didn’t exactly run it by her grandparents first. So she kept the little ginger tom tucked away in her room for almost a month.
DuPont was a bit nervous to introduce Kinako to Jiji; while he has always loved animals, he had only ever had dogs. He wasn’t the biggest fan of cats, as some of the neighborhood cats saw Jiji’s prized garden as the perfect spot for a litter box.
But for Kinako and Jiji, it was friendship at first sight.
"Grandpa wandered in and saw 4-month-old Kinako - and his eyes shined full of happiness.” DuPont shares. “It was something I hadn't seen in a while."
It wasn’t long before Kinako and Jiji formed a special relationship that was all their own. And now, Kinako is Jiji’s cat, and Jiji is Kinako’s human.
DuPont decided to start document the moments the duo shared in their day-to-day life; subtle, beautiful moments that truly capture the special bond they share.
"They get together, share their important moments, like they are making sure they are having a good day," DuPont notes.
One of Jiji’s favorite past-times is going through newspapers and clipping out his favorite articles. Kinako makes sure everything runs smoothly (for the most part).
Of course, Kinako’s version of “helping” Jiji is lying down on the paper and demanding attention.
“Pretty much everyday, when Jiji cuts the newspaper, Kinako jumps on the table, then they argue, give up, understanding that they just want to do what they want to do," said DuPont.
“Kinako lifts up Jiji by simply being Kinako, and Jiji being Jiji, pours love to Kinako, just like he always does with the others,” Akiko said. "Kinako and Jiji take a nap together a lot and they often sleep in a similar pose. They are quite funny and adorable [to watch]."
Kinako and Jiji are never far from each other.
Where Jiji goes, Kinako will follow.
Watching over his favorite human even as he rests.
At first, DuPont had no intentions of sharing these photos with the world. “However, seeing these two [together], wrapping the family with a veil of warmth, I thought that they might be able to provide heartwarming moments to someone out there as well, not just us family.”
We're so glad that DuPont decided to share this wonderful relationship with the world!
[ h/t iHeartCats and LoveMeow ]