He's furry, he's famous, he can't talk, (but boy does he try!), he's Tama-neko, Mitsukake's cat.

But, as any good blue-haired monk will tell you, Tama is no ordinary cat. Not just a brown and cream furry bundle along for the ride, Tama really pulls his own wieght amoung the seishi. In fact, some might even be tempted to say that he's pulled more than his own weight on any number of occasions, and hey, if Tamahome can't figure out what he's trying to say, that's not HIS fault! He tries!

But what do we know about Tama-neko really? Well, his first appearance is in Myou Juan's hut, where he's munching on a fish. At the time, he's got a bandage around his little body, so I assume that he was only just found, and Mitsukake is helping him to heal. He looks to me to be somewhere between six to eight months old, but given that cats have nine lives, that says nothing about his experience. At one point, Chichiri actually says that Tama-neko can sense "higher- band wavelengths", which I take to mean that he is able to percieve the use of chi to affect the environment he is in, and thus able to conduct magical energies. For anyone who knows cats as companions, this shouldn't strike them as surprising. Any cat owner has at one time or another seen their cat do things which would make them swear the beast was psychic.

Wanna know what Tama did?

Beyond here be spoilers BEWARE!!



There are a number of instances where Tama-neko plays an important role. Of course, the most famous of them ("Mitsukake, your cat is floating!" "Hotohori-san!" "He SPEAKS!" "That's news to me!") occurs when Miaka, Chichiri and Tasuki go to Kutou to retrieve Tamahome. As Chichiri and Miaka are hiding in the bushes trying to get away and Tasuki is getting royally wupped by Tamahome, Chichiri realizes that since Tama-neko can sense "higher-bandwidth frequencies", he might be able to get through the barrier if the magic is focussed through him. By creating a portal around the small cat's body, Chichiri is able to communicate with the seishi who are still in Konan, and the barrier is broken by using that conduit which Tama is holding open to carry the chi of "Chiriko"'s flute. Also during that trip to Konan, Tama-neko helped out when Miaka was looking for the tree where Tamahome had agreed to meet her, and when she was thrown in jail, it was Tama-neko who helped her escape. Another very important time when Tama-neko helped out was when Hotohori and Tamahome were fighting. By showing Miaka the way out of her locked room, he provided the crucial, minute distraction which allowed Tamahome to be struck, thus weakening his body and with it the Kodoku which was overpowering his true feelings. The other skill he has, which is certainly not to be discounted even if it never is very successful, is the ability to attempt to talk to humans through mimicry. (mostly Tamahome, in fact I don't think he tries this on anyone else. If he does, please tell me). When Miaka is in trouble, Tama-neko will sometimes go to Tamahome and attempt to act out what is happening. I hold to the theory that if Tamahome had grown up with cats in the house he would have no trouble understanding these messages, but, as it is, he never seems to gret them right. Oh well, as Tama-neko himself would say, "I Tried!"

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