BFF’s To The Max: Misao And Fukumaru

Cuteporters Saffron & Nancy F. are reportin’ that photographer Miyoko Ihara has been taking photos of her grandmother Misao and kitteh Fukumaru for the last 13 years. One day, Grandma found an odd-eyed kitten in the shed…

It’s all captured in the new book Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat.

Via Buzzfeed Animals.



  1. How sweet…I hope they have more wonderful years together.

  2. Lisa marie says:

    So poignant …this bond transcends specie…as cat lovers all know.There is none like it!

  3. Beautiful!

  4. Oh, that is just too sweet. True friendship and love!

  5. (I think my favorite is the lady pushing kitteh around on a cart.)

  6. Linda Matuskey says:

    What a wonderful photo array. I hope I have 1/10 her energy when (if?) I get to my 80’s

  7. Why the persimmons in the bathtub?

  8. I simply loved this. Thank you!

  9. Thanks for posting, CO Mods! 🙂 🙂 ❤
    The last picture just kills me it is so beautiful.

  10. Warms my heart. Absolutely beautiful photos!

  11. It’s yuzu which looks very much like persimmons. They are used in the bath in the winter solstice to ward off colds and flu, among other uses.

  12. This cat is world famous Van Cat, endemic to Van region of Turkey. Cool images.

  13. Clairdelune says:

    Beautiful, both of them! Brought back memories of life in Japan. Misa’s vitality makes me feel embarrassed about my difficulty negotiating a staircase. Maybe I need a white cat, lots of daikon radishes and some mochi… 🙂

  14. bookmonstercats says:

    I am adamant that the only reason a tear rolled down my face at the last photo is because there is something in my eye.

  15. SlaveToCat says:

    So sweet. Anyone have an extra tissue laying around. snif snif

  16. Lovely!

  17. Coffee Cup (now with more rabbits) says:

    FYI, the full slideshow on the Japanese website is amazing, but also kind of NSFW on some images.

  18. Sorry, I just used the last one; had a sudden allergy attack, i guess. Lemme grab another box.

    Holy Moses, this woman AND her cat are adorable and this photographer rocks! This series is just so beautiful. Gonna have to see about putting this on my Christmas wish list along with my CO calender.

  19. Faith in humanity: restored.

  20. What a lovely relationship. The images are fantastic.

  21. I love them both. BFF’s indeed.

  22. Love this… Makes me Miss My grandmas so much!

  23. rescue gal says:


  24. So much beauty crammed into that small dot on the map. ❤

  25. She’s an ear-nommer too!
    y’all need to quit giving me a hard time, it’s clearly a universal urge.

  26. Gorgeous photos of BFF! They are a wonderful pair and look so happy together.

  27. China Lawrence says:

    This is like a silent documentary. Such beautiful images of a serene and fulfilling life. Is the cat a Turkish Van (typically all white with one blue and one brown eye)?

  28. I love all of these pictures. So sweet.

  29. I love that the granson decided to lovingly document his grandmother and her cat. In western culture you rarely see photos of old people. Young people YES, beautiful young people YES but really old people NO. It’s like if we don’t see them then we can forget that we will, if we’re lucky, also get old one day.

  30. I thought of you when I saw that photo. I imagine that Fukumaru’s ears taste like vanilla–mmmm.

  31. Thats the Bowie´s cat!

  32. Aww! The grandma is cute too. I love Fukumaru’s eyes!

  33. Yep, me too. It got dusty in here all of a sudden…

  34. sobbing at work…shared link with abandon.
    thank you!

  35. Reminds me of the Japanese belief that true beauty comes out with age– in the lady and in the love between her and Fukumaru.

  36. How insanely adorable! Best friends.

  37. I think we’re just all trying to be supportive and come from a place of love Tracylee 🙂
    Earsies are quite nommable though. I will admit that…esp if they’re velvety and soft.

  38. I concur mamabear…not stop hogging the tissue box!!!!! *sniff sniff* This is by far the sweetest set I’ve seen on CO.

  39. Beautiful!

  40. I mean to say *now… not “not stop”. ….i blame it on the dust in my eye.

  41. This is truly a sight to behold. These pictures definitely portray the love between a human and an animal, and the special relationships they can have!

  42. This is just too precious! Truly a testament to the joy that animals can bring to someone’s life!

  43. warrior rabbit says:

    That was my favorite photo! I do that to my bunny’s ears all the time.

  44. noellesbootcutkittenpants says:

    Me, too. My paternal grandmother, until she fell and broke her femur (at the age of 89, gardening) was very vital and active. She knitted, sewed, crocheted, baked, canned, gardened (flower and vegetable), did all her own yardwork, AND walked two miles a day. Having to slow down and rest was the hardest thing for her. She would have found a spiritual sister in Misao.

  45. An antidote to Cats ‘n’ Racks.

    Cats ‘n’ Grannies?

  46. Why not Cats ‘n’ Grannies racks? 😈

  47. Well, that book is going on christmas list.

  48. I love how the cat’s all, “this is my sedan chair, faster, woman!”

  49. Ummm. I thought you were supposed to drink tea made from these. I’ve been doing it wrong.

  50. The story on her page is so poignant – what a wonderful photo project, I absolutely love Fukumaru’s and the grandmother’s expressions.

  51. Meemaws and Wee Paws?

  52. Coffee Cup (now with more rabbits) says:

    So what you’re saying is that everyone in the western world just needs to give their grannies cats for the holidays.

  53. Mine too 🙂

  54. noellesbootcutkittenpants says:

    What makes this even dearer is that Fukumaru, like many odd-eyed white cats, is deaf.

  55. This is so beautiful. I love how the love comes through every picture!

  56. noellesbootcutkittenpants says:

    This stacked oddly, but I was replying to the poster who said that this makes her miss her grandmothers. 🙂

  57. You can do that, too!

  58. Aww…they are both so beautiful!


  60. I tweeted this last week and everyone (at least my cat lover friends) went nuts. It’s a really special relationship – extraordinarily so, in fact. What a lovely tribute. I want this book.

  61. These are so beautifully done, I love them. My favorite is drinking tea under the tree. Its like a nineteenth century painting.

  62. phred's mom says:

    As a grannie, I looooove this idea. Can I
    have a black kitteh, puleeze?

  63. Mine too 🙂

  64. Such beautiful pictures, you can see the love shining through.

  65. As someone who checks this site everyday but rarely hase a chance to comment, I think these photos are outstanding. As someone who has written nonfiction books, I am surprised a major publishing house has not grabbed this book.

  66. 6ToedCatsRule says:

    Well that answers my question. Thank you

  67. 😆

  68. RoadRunner says:


  69. That is so touching…wonderful!

  70. So awesome. Thanks for sharing.

  71. And mine! and all those photos are so… real and at the same time so… perfect! so beautiful!!!

  72. What she said. 🙂
    Terrific collection of photos.

  73. It just doesn’t get more precious than this. I love her smiling face. And the napping picture?? Tissues please.

  74. Beautiful…

  75. joools in PDX says:

    Who’s cuter? It’s a toss-up! I wish I had a Van kitty… I REALLY wish I had a Japanese grandma!

  76. Fleurdamour says:

    CO Presents…The Meaning of Life.

  77. Guadalupe Cummins says:

    These photos are beautiful!

  78. how beautiful is simplicity, hard work and bonding of human and pet.

  79. This is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen! (no hyperbole I swear) 🙂

  80. Whoaaaaaaaaaa now.

  81. Love it! I HAVE to visit Japan it looks so beautiful.

  82. we would never, ever accuse anyone of hyperbole!

  83. Grand*daughter.* Miyoko Ihara is a woman.

    And they are very cute photos. ^_^ That is one lucky cat! And a very sweet old lady.

  84. That would be an antidote to many, many things. Especially during the holidays. Bring it on!

  85. Beautiful!!!

  86. I like!

  87. Eewww… how about Gramp Stamps? Completely unrelated, but disturbing enough to share.

  88. 😯

  89. Such lovely photos and such a loving tribute to the photographer’s grandmother. This is a very special post. Thank you for sharing it!

  90. So precious! 😀

  91. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the Pull Yourself Together Lounge. I’ll put on a pot of tea to share.

  92. Warms my heart more than I can say.

  93. This is such an awesome project– thank you for posting it on CO!
    The quality of composition, and the tender moments the photographer captured– wow!
    I’ve reserved a copy at my local Kinokuniya bookstore!!!

  94. Faith in catanity: affirmed.

  95. maybe soy sauce

  96. Mainly because that would be useless on this site. EVERYONE here is guilty!

  97. Mireille Strunck says:

    A real life companion …. so much affection, love and tenderness.

  98. What a beautiful cat and a beautiful lady! Such love they seem to share.

  99. That is one of the best posts ever in the history of cute overload. Seriously.

  100. Cat lady in training says:

    This has to be the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen. That woman looks like she’s a ball of fun, too, and I’ve never seen a cat with odd eyes that color; usually one’s blue and one’s green, not that vibrant yellow. S/he’s gorgeous!

  101. Wow, what wonderful photos. And what a great life for that cat, and mom! 🙂

    I was really amazed at the photo taking a bath filled with whole fruits; I used to do that all the time with flowers, but it never even occurred to me to do it with citrus! I’ll have to give that a try someday!

  102. Fukumaru huh? How does Maru feel about them saying that?

  103. Words cannot describe these set of pics. *sheds a tear*

  104. These pictures are so lovely… and now I’m in need of some cat therapy!

  105. [Shhhhhh, Maru doesn’t speak English.]

  106. It’s a 11.

  107. Beautiful.

  108. Yes! I think it got a bit dusty here when I got to that pic… that would explain the watery eyes…

  109. The last pic is the best of all.

  110. I agree completely. I have no words to add.

  111. Maria Jose says:

    Realmente muy buen trabajo fotografico. La abuela y su gato son hermosos!!!

  112. Its just so beautiful

  113. Aww. I’m like this with my cat too … well she’s not actually MINE so to speak. It’s complicated …

  114. This has to be one of the very best things you’ve ever posted on here! I am in love!!! What a sweet story.

  115. They are both beautiful beings. This post is wonderful and shows the best of humankind. Thank you CO!

  116. I’m on my way over! Thanks for putting a pot on!

  117. omg look at that treasure trove of love! i’m all weepy – look at what an incredible connection they share. i’ll have to check out that book.

  118. I got nostalgic for Japan, myself. They breed some pretty tough old ladies there. Tough, but so very sweet.

  119. Definitely visit! And make it a point to get out to one of the less-populated agricultural prefectures, like Iwate. I lived there for a few years, and it is such a beautiful place. Misa looks like many an obaasan in my little town.

  120. tenshihitomi says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who immediately thinks of Bowie when seeing those cats! Of course, you *could* say I’m always thinking about Bowie…

  121. Dr. Emile Schoeffhausen says:

    Gardening, bathing, chatting with friends, napping, pushing my cat(s) around in wheelbarrows…this could be me in a few years if, in a strange twist of fate, I actually end up being a vibrant Japanese senior citizen.

    This reminds me to quit sweating the small stuff. Everything required to live a happy life is in these photos.

  122. It means “lucky”, so it’s a common kitty name in Japan. The ‘maru’ part is just a common suffix for a male name, like ‘ko’ is a common female suffix.

    Also, I know everyone has already said it…but how beautiful is this relationship? ≛⏝≛

  123. Why am I crying? Also, I feel like a slug after seeing all that grandma can do. The cat is hauntingly beautiful. Need to create a new category – Pets & Grands

  124. Lovely photos!
    Also, I love the live she’s leading. If my older years are like this I will be very happy.

  125. I second that, Terri 😀

  126. The bond between the two appears so tender and calm, yet with playfulness too. Heartwarming, truly. A story in pictures to cherish.. love it!

  127. I saw this on BuzzFeed a couple days ago. Ziggy would be the perfect name for the cat.

  128. And they do it ALL the time!

  129. The kitteh is beautiful, the grandmother lovely, and the photos just amazing. My favorite is the one of the kitteh trying to get her food. What a bond they have, and the photos convey that beautifully.

  130. Ok, i’m loving the captions for the photos almost as much as the beautiful photos themselves! Thanks

  131. It’s a Japanese tradition during the Winter Solstice…it is said to ward off colds and such. I’m sure it smells amazing because of the citrus oils!

  132. Will there be a book? I love these photos.

  133. Okay, I am an idiot. There is a book.

  134. megamissystar says:


  135. And….your point is?

    Completely innacent (oh, look! Another leprechaun!)

  136. Absolutely beautiful. The quality of the photography is stunning and the subjects are utterly charming. This is what keeps me coming back to CO…

  137. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! (nothing else to say, i am melting right now)

  138. I am so moved by these images. The bond between the two seems so special. We as cat lovers should all be so lucky.

  139. once upon a time says:

    Beautiful story. I had a cat just like this named Bo that I raised from a week old, a little grey cat, but someone stole him from me after my roommate let him out one day while I was at work… it breaks my heart every day… he used to ride around on my shoulder and jump up into my arms when I clapped. He would sing for me and give me kisses. We were inseparable. I think about him every day, even almost a year later. At least some people get their fairy tale ending…

  140. I love this!! What beautiful, inspiring photographs 🙂

  141. “…if, in a strange twist of fate, I actually end up being a vibrant Japanese senior citizen.”


    these pics are my favorites in a long, long time. oh my did i bawl at the last one!

  142. you know what, Doctor, you’re right! everything that’s required to live a happy life really is IS in these photos!

    maybe that’s what’s striking such a nerve in these pics — seeing grandma and her kitty so full of life and love is making me feel okay about growing old…

    and how awesome is that?

  143. KAR - the other one:) says:

    Don’t tell Maru but his name means circle (not box) – so says the article about the book.

  144. So much love and happiness between these two!
    Precious 😉

  145. I love it that the cat is with her everywhere. It’s so precious.

  146. This one of the most touching relationships I have seen. I have had two white cats and they were both special. Having lived in Fukuoka Japan gives it an additional connection.

  147. Wherever the lady is and whatever she’s doing, the kitty has to be there and be involved too.

    My own kitty is like that too.

    Reminds me that I don’t spend enough time with him.

  148. Simply adorable, both of them!

  149. Youre both right actually. You make the tea by steeping yuzu and an old lady together in hot water.

  150. Wonderful pictures and story! Let’s spread the cute

  151. Fukumaru is back in stock on Amazon, I just got mine in three days:-) What a lovely book, it lifts you up!