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A Slice of Life dramedy manga from artist Tsunami Minatsuki.

Subaru Mikazuki is a reclusive novelist, content to lock himself away with his writing and avoid people whenever he can. His antisocial nature is only intensified following the deaths of his parents.

"Haru" is a street cat, walking the city and surviving day to day. While passing through a cemetery, she catches wind of food.

Food left on the family grave of Subaru's family. One fated meeting later, and Subaru and this stray feline find themselves a dysfunctional new set of roommates. Between his very reduced existing social circle turning out to be made of cat lovers and the requirements for properly caring for a cat making him meet new people, Subaru finds himself giving people a second chance in spite of himself. Haru, meanwhile, needs to slowly adapt to being cared for by a human and periodically finding herself needing to care for him.

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Doukyonin Wa Hiza Tokidoki Atama No Ue (lit. My Housemate Is on My Lap, But Sometimes on My Head, adapted title My Roommate Is A Cat) received an anime adaptation in the winter 2019 season.


Contains examples of:

  • Abandoned Pet in a Box: Haru and her siblings share an early memory of being left on the street in a cardboard box.
  • Adult Fear: Two examples in Haru's backstory:
    • Her and her siblings waking up alone in the street in the box, with no parents or anyone else around. Thankfully, they run into Tora soon enough.
    • Shortly before the beginning of the series, she goes off to find food for her two starving younger siblings. When she gets back one of them is dead, having been killed by crows, while the other one is missing but thankfully is alive.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Subaru is shown to be extremely uncomfortable in large crowds, and even being around people in general to the point he actively avoids human contact in favor of just staying inside his house reading. He even seems to get physically exhausted from basic social interaction, and is hyperfocused on his reading and work to the point he Forgets to Eat at times.
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  • Animal Talk: While most animals are cats to start with, Haru has no problem talking with the neighbor's dog when they have a chance encounter at the vet's office.
  • Apathy Killed the Cat: Not literally, but you'd think Subaru would have done some research on how to properly take care of a cat when he brought Haru in, either from the reference books he asked his editor to get or just looking it up online. He doesn't and thus has to be pressed on matters such as giving his new cat a name, getting her a collar, or taking her to the vet.
  • Big, Friendly Dog: The neighbor's dog, a big golden retriever named Taro, is exactly as friendly as he is large.
  • Big Little Brother: Subaru is shocked when meeting Yu for the first time and learning he's Nana's younger brother and still in high school, since he's so much bigger than her and Subaru, who are both in their early twenties.
  • Bookworm: Subaru, a novelist who is shown spending whatever free time he has reading books from his childhood to the present day.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Subaru is a decent novelist, with his employers remarking that his works are very successful and popular. He is also a social recluse that actively avoids human contact or even leaving his house to spend his time reading.
  • Cats Are Magic: Haru is able to see the ghosts of Subaru's parents, who thank the cat for watching over him and helping him move on by getting her to draw Subaru's attention towards some memorabilia they left around for him.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Haru is quite the snarky feline, especially in regards to her hapless new owner. Much like any cat owner can attest, it's clear Haru views herself as Subaru's protector at times, seeing him as hopeless in many regards.
  • Cats Hate Water: Haru. Her reaction to having to take a bath can at best be described as horror.
  • Character Development: Subaru, who starts the series as an antisocial recluse, slowly begins to open up more and comes somewhat out of his shell thanks to the influence of Haru and his expanding social circle. Eventually culminating in him, to the shock of his friend, choosing to travel to the countryside of his own volition to gain inspiration for his writing.
  • Childhood Friend: Hiroto Yasaka, who has been Subaru's friend for a decade and started the series as his Only Friend.
  • Comically Missing the Point: For quite a while, Haru isn't aware that Haru is her name. She assumes it means "Food".
  • Cool Big Sis: Tora, the female stray that took in Haru and her siblings, raised them and taught them how to survive. Haru is also this to her own siblings.
  • Creepy Crows: A recurring problem during Haru's time as a stray. It's also what killed one of her siblings.
  • Crush Blush: Nagisa, Hiroto's younger sister and the second eldest of the Hirasaka siblings, has this while speaking to Subaru.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Flashbacks show that Subaru's parents were nothing short of loving, decent people who always cared for him. Even when Subaru refused their offers to go on trips with them, they were never shown to be anything less than understanding and caring.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Hiroto drops by bringing food for Subaru since he's too anxiety-ridden to go shopping, much like an outdoor cat who brings kills to its owner.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Subverted. While they’re still depicted as goofy and less serious than cats, the dog Haru meets at the vet is depicted as smarter than the cats (just like dogs are smarter than cats in real life), in that while all the cats, even the ones who had been there multiple times, only saw the vet as some kind of torture chamber, the dog managed to put two and two together and notice that whenever he’s sick or hurt, he starts feeling better after he goes there.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Subaru shows how he's Not Good with People when at a cafe with his editor Kawase. He becomes clearly uncomfortable and jumpy due to the large number of people around and gets short with Kawase for bringing him to such a crowded place before leaving in a rush.
  • Face of a Thug: Nana's other cat, Roku. A tough looking, deep voiced ex-stray. But he quickly proves to be friendly despite his intimidating features.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The corpse of one of Haru's siblings is shown in a flashback, having been attacked to death by crows.
  • First Pet Story: Subaru starts out quite clueless about how to properly care for a cat, initially thinking he can just let a former stray into his house and give it food whenever its bowl is empty. It takes prompts from other people for him to give Haru a name, get her a collar and take her to the vet's.
  • Forgets to Eat: In the first episode, Subaru becomes so focused on his work that he ends up neglecting eating or sleeping. Deconstructed as he quickly ends up collapsing from it. This is apparently not uncommon as his editor was informed of this by a colleague and Hiroto regularly checks up on him and is unsurprised on how empty his fridge is. Even the vet to whom he takes Haru notices, pointing out how skinny he is.
  • From Stray to Pet: Some of the consequences of this are explored, even though Haru and Subaru are lucky enough that some of the worst potential consequences didn't happen.
    • One of the potential problems with Subaru not taking Haru to the vet immediately was that she could be sick from living on the streets, which fortunately turned out to not be the case.
    • Because Haru is used to food being scarce and eating what she can find immediately, Subaru ends up accidentally overfeeding her because he just fills her bowl whenever it's empty.
    • The hyper-vigilance Haru acquired while on the streets results in her being a little hostile towards the more smothering displays of affection coming from humans, notably Hiroto's youngest siblings and Kawase.
  • Introverted Cat Person: Subaru was quite the introvert even before he adopted Haru, so he becomes this in the first episode.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Kuro, Tora's male stray friend. When first seeing Haru and her siblings, he's rather gruff, pointing out what a drag it will be to have more mouths to feed. Despite that, he still helped train them to survive, gave them extra tips and tossed himself in along with Tora against some crows to let Haru and her siblings escape.
    • Subaru also starts to become this through Character Development. While still somewhat solitary and loving to read, he slowly starts to open up to and appreciate the people around him.
  • Kind Hearted Cat Lover: The majority of the humans that Subaru's social circle consists of are this, and are willing to help him out with taking care of Haru.
  • Manchild: Kawase, whose excitable Large Ham tendencies seem more fitting on a kid. Unsurprisingly, when meeting Hiroto's younger siblings, two of whom are in elementary school and the youngest a toddler, he got along with them swimmingly.
  • Massively Numbered Siblings: Hiroto is the oldest of five children. So is Haru, though that's pretty normal for cats.
  • The Muse: Why does Subaru take a stray cat into his house? Because the cat inspires him to write a new novel with a cat as a character.
  • Never Given a Name: Beings stray cats, Haru and her siblings naturally don't have names. Subaru also doesn't initially give her a name until his friends notice and press the issue. It takes her rediscovered brother, dubbed Hachi, to inform her Haru is her name and not a signal to eat.
  • Nice Guy:
    • Atsushi Kawase, Subaru's editor. Despite Subaru being rather cross with him, he still maintains a friendly demeanor towards him and is all too willing to try to establish a closer relationship than just writer and editor. When Subaru doesn't answer his cell phone for a while and collapses in his house, Kawase immediately goes in and helps him out. When Subaru goes unresponsive to his calls again later on, he had no problems rushing through a rainstorm to get to his house to check on him.
    • Subaru's Childhood Friend Hiroto is also this. Regularly coming in to check up on him, and trying to get him to open up. He even goes and leaves some food in Subaru's fridge when he notices that it's empty.
  • No Social Skills: Subaru. His tendency to actively avoid human contact in favor of drowning himself in books has left him out of his depth in social interactions. When meeting Nana at the pet store to get cat food, he mistakes her questioning about Haru's name and age as for his own. This also extends to Haru when he takes her in, forgetting to even name her until pressed.
  • Not Good with People: Subaru, who tends to actively avoid people in favor of staying in his house to read books and writing his novels.
  • Numerical Theme Naming: Cross-species example with Nana (7), naming her cats Roku (6) and Hachi (8).
  • Odd Friendship: At the start of the series, solitary Bookworm Subaru's Only Friend was the extraverted Nice Guy Hiroto. Also with him and his Manchild of an editor Kawase.
  • Only Friend: At the start of the series, the only thing close to human contact Subaru had was his Childhood Friend Hiroto. His social circle slowly begins to expand, however.
  • Parental Abandonment: Subaru's parents both died in a bus accident little before the beginning of the series. Haru and her siblings also never met their own biological parents, but were thankfully taken in by Tora and Kuro.
  • Parting Words Regret: Subaru eventually comes to regret for never taking his parents' offers to go with them on trips right up to the day they died.
  • Perspective Flip: The manga's main gag. First showing us Subaru's view, then flipping over to see how Haru reacts to the same situation.
  • Posthumous Character: Due to their death being part of the story's premise, Subaru's parents get their entire development via flashback.
  • Promoted to Parent: Being the biggest of her litter, Haru was left in charge when they were abandoned.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Right at the start, it's pointed out that Subaru has a habit to skip meals and sleep when he gets too focused on his deadlines. In the first episode, he ends up collapsing from not taking care of himself, and in his hunger eats the closest edible-looking thing by reflex. Which happens to be a bowl of Haru's cat food.
    • Due to never having a pet before, and his own lack of social graces, Subaru ends up making a few mistakes when he first gets Haru such as not taking her to a vet, getting her a collar, or even giving her a name until one of his friends points out and presses the issue.
  • The Reveal: In the final episode, we see Haru on Subaru's head, just like in the opening...but this time we see Subaru's expression below, and he has a rare happy smile.
  • Shown Their Work: Cat behavior and care is accurately shown. In particular, it's stated that onions are toxic to cats, so Hiroto and Kawase lure Haru out with her dinner so she doesn't accidentally nibble on a leek they put on Subaru.
  • The Shut-In: Subaru, who rarely leaves his house unless necessary in favor of staying indoors to focus on his work and reading. When he runs out of food, he immediately tried to order some from online delivery and seemed to be on the verge of a panic attack at the thought of having to go out an a simple grocery run when the website said it would take days for his food to arrive. Flashback shows he was this even when he was younger, preferring to stay inside to read books even during summer vacation and declining his parents' many offers to go on trips outside of town.
  • Starving Artist: Due to being a shut-in who gets hyperfixated on his work to the exclusion of all else, Subaru often ends up passing out due to lack of food. He keeps very little food in his house even though he could afford to buy it.
  • Tears of Remorse: Subaru in episode 3, when he finds an album his mother put together with various notes about vacations he might enjoy, and realizes too late how much his parents loved him and how much thought they put towards ways to connect with him. As it hits him how little appreciation he showed their efforts, he begins to cry.
  • This Is My Human: Haru, who sees Subaru as hopeless without her there to protect him.
  • Tsundere: Haru towards Subaru. She regularly refers to him as useless without her or teasing her, but is always there to help him out and provide support.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Flashbacks show that Subaru was more cheerful as a kid, and actually may have made a token attempt to connect to other children in contrast to how gloomy and willfully withdrawn he is in the present day.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • One-sided on Subaru's half with Hiroto. While he at times appeared annoyed by how exuberant Hiroto can be, he still doesn't truly mind him. Hiroto, meanwhile, has been nothing but decent towards Subaru, even trying to get him to open up more, was there with him on his parents' funeral, and tries to make sure he's taking care of himself.
    • Subaru's relationship with his editor Kawase is also this, with him at times getting exasperated by how exuberant the latter can be but slowly warms up to him. The latter of course, is nothing short of nice to him, token teasing aside.
  • You Are Not Alone: This is An Aesop for Subaru as he learns how to take care of Haru and by extension begins interacting with people and going outside his house.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Doukyonin Wa Hiza Tokidoki Atama No Ue

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My Roommate is a Cat

Haru throws books, tissues, and various other items around the house during her temper tantrum.

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