These Poignant Photos of a Man With Alzheimer’s and His Cat Will Melt Your Heart

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Akiko DuPont just wanted to see her grandfather happy again. After a lifetime of vitality and joy, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2009, turning his world upside down. The energetic, outgoing man who hadn’t missed a day of work in 64 years became withdrawn and turned grumpier and grumpier.

So Akiko decided that he needed a friend. Soon after her grandfather’s diagnosis, she took in a shy and timid orange kitten named Kinako. She was unsure how her grandfather would react to his new roommate, due to the fact he was an avowed dog person (although that was mainly due to the messes cats made in his garden over the years). She hid Kinako in her room at first, but when her grandpa caught sight of the kitten, it was love at first sight. He and Kinako bonded instantly, and now the two are inseparable.

Photo: Akiko DuPont

Photo: Akiko DuPont

Kinako and Akiko’s grandfather, who she refers to as “Jiji”, pass the time napping, eating, watching television, and just enjoying each other’s company. Their favorite activity is clipping articles out of newspapers, though for different reasons. Akiko’s grandpa is passionate about finding interesting stories to cut out and glue into scrapbooks, while Kinako is passionate about batting at rustling scraps of paper. Akiko says, “Pretty much every day, Jiji cuts the papers, Kinako jumps on the table, then they fight, give up, and keep doing what they want to do.” Like a little old couple, they sometimes bicker, but always love.

Photo: Akiko DuPont

Photo: Akiko DuPont

Akiko, who is a documentary photographer, decided to shoot a photo series of her grandfather and Kinako’s relationship. She initially took the photos in order to share with her family, but says, “However, seeing these two by being these two, wrapping the family with a veil of warmth, I thought that they may be able to provide heart warming moments to someone out there as well, not just his family.”

See more of Akiko’s adorable photos here!

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TC currently lives in the soggy Pacific Northwest, bellied up to a sun lamp. In addition to writing, she enjoys photography and estate sales, and is the proud mother to an ever-growing collection of cacti.
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