Moving photos show how a cat 'melted' the heart of her 'grumpy' grandpa diagnosed with Alzheimer's
TOKYO (KTVU) - The pictures say it all. Photographer Akiko DuPont has chronicled her 94-year-old grandfather's journey living with Alzheimer's and how a shy and timid cat named Kinako changed his life.
DuPont writes that in 2009, her grandfather whom she calls "Jiji" was sent to the hospital. Doctors diagnosed him with Alzheimer's disease.
She says the grandpa she knew seemed to be slipping away. "The once outgoing man gradually lost his interest in life and became grumpier than ever."
It wasn't long after the diagnosis DuPont brought home Kinako, a four month old kitten she rescued.
She was initially hesitant to share the news with her grandfather.
DuPont explains that while her Jiji is an animal person, he was more partial to dogs and wasn't a huge fan of cats, mostly because the ones in the neighborhood would often use his garden as a litter box.
But the moment Jiji laid eyes Kinako, his granddaughter says she saw his face light up and she instantly knew a special bond was forming.
"Who would have thought that a timid kitten would befriend a grumpy old man!" DuPont asks.
With her camera, she has been capturing the touching friendship that has grown between the inseparable pair.
Kinako has become a constant companion.
The cat watches over Jiji as he carries out a favorite ritual of reading the newspaper and clipping out the articles he likes.
But like with any close couple, arguments arise. When Kinako jumps on the table as Jiji begins clipping his articles, the two start their back and forth bickering, though they eventually work it out.
Kinako is also there when it's naptime, lying next to his friend, even taking on a similar sleeping position.
As she watches the two together through her camera lens, DuPont says she is observing a remarkable thing: "The border between human and animal melts, just as shy Kinako melted Jiji's heart."
For more Jiji and Kinako photos visit Akiko DuPont's website.