Here is this month’s Home Truths column in the Japan Times, about pets. Though we have two cats ourselves, and basically believe that anyone who has a pet should be able to live where they want, we’re not entirely comfortable with the increasingly open acceptance of pets in collective residences. As we suggest several times, it’s a two-way street. Tenants and condo owners who do not demonstrate sufficient understanding of what it means to have an animal companion should not have them, though we’re not sure how that point can be driven home in a way that doesn’t discriminate against people who do demonstrate responsibility and understanding. Is it right to keep large dogs in small apartments? Should all dog owners who live in collective housing be obliged to train their pets? Should cats be confined indoors or allowed to roam free, and if the latter is allowed, should they be required to be spayed/neutered? Rules are unavoidable, but education is essential.
I love dogs, but not many of their owners. I am allergic to cats, and was happy to discover that.
Keeping this to Japan, I cannot see how anyone in a Japanese city or suburb should have a cat or dog: it is cruelty. There are too few places you may let your dog off-leash, never mind how small the living spaces are. As for cats off-leash, it is well known they decimate the populations of song-birds worldwide.
I don’t think we need to consider the neighbours to ban pets from ‘collective residences’ in Japan. If we consider the neighbours though, there is more reason: there are always crazy cat-keepers, and dogs their owners will not train. I was once misfortunate to have an apartment in a Saitama bed-town between a non-stop yapping dog, an apartment where the cat odours came into my kitchen via the oven hood (I had to keep it on to suck smell away) and someone who kept a rooster (why? no eggs) which crowed at three to four a.m. Needless to say when I asked for help addressing my sleep-deficit I got a lot of wind-sucking and nothing else.