Granddaughter Captures Beautiful Bond Between Her Grandpa and His Cat

therapy cat alzheimer's

It can be painful to watch the change in Alzheimer's sufferers, so when Tokyo-based photographer Akiko DuPont‘s 94-year-old grandfather Jiji was diagnosed several years ago, she was naturally concerned.

“I think when you learn that you have Alzheimer's, it is easy to start feeling scared, lonely, sad and lost,” DuPont shared. “I saw that in him. He tried to hide it, but I could see it. He was still Jiji, a loving man. But he gradually began to make a wall between himself and other people.”

Luckily, an unexpected bond has helped Jiji bring down that wall. Kinako was just a small kitten when DuPont brought him to their home, and although Jiji had always been an animal lover, he'd only own dogs. DuPont wasn't sure how he'd take to their new housemate, so at first she kept Kinako tucked away in her room.

pets for alzheimer's

“I actually didn't get any permission and first hid him in my room,” DuPont said. “Then grandpa wandered in and saw 4-month-old Kinako — and his eyes shined full of happiness. It was something I hadn't seen in a while.” And there, a beautiful friendship was born.

Pets have been shown to help Alzheimer's patients with anxiety and depression, and Jiji's new friend is clearly helping him. Now, they're always together, whether napping in the same position or Kinako assisting in Jiji's favorite activity—clipping newspaper articles.

DuPont picked up her camera to document Jiji and Kinako's life together, capturing the touching tale of their unbreakable bond. Whether checking in on each other to be sure they're having a good day or playfully arguing over Kinako's habit of sitting on Jiji's newspapers, theirs is a relationship that's enhanced both their lives.

Kinako has provided a form of pet therapy to Jiji, who suffers from Alzheimer's. He even helps while Jiji cuts our newspaper articles—his favorite pastime.

therapy cat alzheimer's

therapy cat alzheimer's

Wherever Jiji is, Kinako is never far behind. Jiji's granddaughter Akiko began documenting their special bond several years ago.

bond between cat and owner

therapy cat

bond between cat and owner

therapy cat
Akiko DuPont: Website
h/t: [The Dodo]

All images via Akiko DuPont.

Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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