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In the second chapter of I Am a Cat, we see this:

SINCE New Year’s Day I have acquired a certain modest celebrity: so that, though only a cat, I am feeling quietly proud of myself. Which is not unpleasing.
On the morning of New Year’s Day, my master received a picture-postcard...
I Am a Cat, chapter 2

We see that the cat is pretty well known; almost all of the letters and stuff that we see the master receiving mention the cat.

But don't see any mention of how this cat became well-known. Did I somehow miss it? What happened?

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  • That bothered me as well. My best guess is the teacher had the misfortune of mentioning of showing his art to some of his friends, and the cat became notorious and they decided to humour him by asking for a picture of the cat. Commented Aug 19, 2017 at 21:23

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My feeling was that it must have been pretty uncommon to have a cat as a "pet" - e.g. one that sits on the lap of their master. Especially that in this case the teacher was a well-known and respected member of the community. So I think that it must have spread as a rumour like "how funny the teacher has a cat" sort of way.

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    Do you have any evidence for this theory? E.g. is there anything in the book to suggest it was uncommon to have a cat as a pet (there are a number of other cats living in neighbouring houses - are they less "pettish" than our hero?), or was there anything in Japanese culture of the time which suggested having cats as pets was uncommon?
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 9:09
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    I don't agree. The cat had neighbours who had cats as well, and one of them was treated way better than our protagonist. Commented Sep 20, 2017 at 17:17

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