The Oven Cat

The abuse by fellow cats The Oven Cat in "The Cat Office" is scorned and tormented by the other cats, just as the Nighthawk in "The Nighthawk Star." is the target of abuse by his fellow birds. However, the setting of the Cat Office and the disposition of the Oven Cat infuse the story with humorous elements, and so it does not have the poignancy of "The Nighthawk Star." The narrator's reproachful tone as the tale is told of the cruel teasing by the cats is another point on which this story differs from "The Nighthawk Star."

The No.Six Cat Office
Just what is a Cat Office, one wonders? It is quite an amusing idea. The setting of the story is the No. Six Cat Office, and this office investigates the history and geography of cats. For instance, if an extravagant cat wants to travel to the Bering Sea area to feast on glacial mice, the cat will come to the office to have it find out the best place for them. Then the head cat of the office will ask one of the cat clerks to look into the precautions to take when traveling to the district where glacial mice are found or to the Bering Sea region. The cat clerk will study the documents concerned and give advice, such as that "this trip is definitely not suited to a cat born in the summer" or "Even cats born in the winter need to be very careful when traveling there" or "There is the danger of being lured by horse meat in the vicinity of Hakodate."

The Oven Cat has a habit of sleeping in the oven

The Tabby Cat torments The Oven Cat

The declaration of closing the office by the golden-headed lion
The staff members of the No. Six Cat Office are the Black cat, who is the head of the office, the White cat, the First Clerk, the Tabby Cat, the Second Clerk, the Tortoise-Shell Cat, the Third Clerk, and the Oven Cat, the Fourth Clerk. The Oven Cat " is always dirty with soot because he has a habit of sleeping in the oven at night, and he is thought of as being somewhat like a raccoon dog." It is for these reasons that the other cat clerks dislike him and are mean to him. When the Tabby Cat's lunch falls off his desk and the Oven Cat considerately picks it up for him, the Tabby says spitefully, "Are you telling me to eat a lunch that has fallen on the floor?" At times like this the office chief, the Black Cat, would intermediate on the Oven Cat's behalf. However, one day when the Oven Cat was absent from work with a cold, the other cat clerks lied to the office chief, telling him that the Oven Cat "has been saying that he intends to become the next head of the office." The foolish office chief believes this and when the Oven Cat comes to work the next day, he follows the example of the other cats and ignores the Oven Cat and doesn't give him any work to do. A little past noon, the Oven Cat begins to cry. Just then a golden-headed lion appears. The lion says, "What do you cats think you are doing? There is no need for either geography or history if you behave like this," and he orders the closing of the office. The narrator ends the story by saying, "I am half in sympathy with the lion's feelings on this matter."

Humor in Kenji's Stories
Foxes, rats, horses---
Ihatovo and foreign land
The World of Kenji's Works
The World of Kenji Miyazawa