Ichijiku and Kinkan are cats that came from what folks in the shelter business know as the "Gunma Prefecture hoarding horror," which saw 170 cats packed into one single house. When ARK came in to assist the rescuing group, they looked for the extremely timid cats that could likely be helped by being in a private home.

The green-eyed black Kinkan is a 2½-year-old male, while the exotic silver-brown tabby Ichijiku is a smaller female about 14 months old. The two are best friends.

In the beginning, Ichijuku was so fearful, trusting people seemed to be a distant possibility. At the rescue, she was still a kitten and she hid. She wanted no one near her. Ichijiku, like many of the animals, was lucky to have survived the summer. With the owner hospitalized, there was no one caring for the cats. There was no water and the house had no cooling — temperatures inside were dangerously high.

Ichijiku is still shy, but when racing around crazily with Kinkan, she becomes lost in play. Toys and her friend are the way to her heart. We are confident her past will continue to fade as she engages ever more boldly with her new world.

If you are interested in adopting, email ARK at [email protected] or call 050-1557-2763 (English or Japanese) Monday to Saturday (bilingual) for more information. Animal Refuge Kansai (with offices in Kansai and Tokyo) is an NPO founded by U.K. native Elizabeth Oliver. It is dedicated to rescuing and rehoming abandoned animals. All animals are vaccinated, neutered and microchipped. Prospective owners are required to undergo a screening process. Web: www.arkbark.net