Cat Working as Train Station Master Is Japan’s Cutest Tourist Attraction

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Tama the cat has been a part of the Japanese workforce for the past seven years. She works as a station master at Kishi station, a remote railway stop in Kinokawa City, Wakayama, Western Japan. Of course, ‘works’ isn’t exactly the right word for what she does there. Her job mostly involves sitting around, posing for pictures and looking rather stern (which reminds me of my ex-boss, actually). But Tama has been rewarded handsomely for her efforts – she has a large window office, a hat with a gold lining, a badge, and her annual compensation is one years’ worth of cat food.

Station Master Tama is special because she attracts tens of thousands of tourists each year. Her presence at Kishi station has helped revitalize tourism in a rural area that was struggling to stay afloat. At one point, the train line that passed through Kishi station saw a 15 percent annual decline in ridership. But when Tama stepped into the role of station master, in 2007, there was a sudden 10 percent jump in the first year.

Tourists continue to pour in from Hong Kong and Taiwan; Wakayama Electric Railway (the company that runs the line) said that at least 20,000 tourists visit the small town annually. The estimated combined revenue from the ticket sales and memorabilia like photobooks and commercial appearances has bumped up the local economy by a whopping 1.1 billion yen ($10.8 million). The company operates just the one line, with about 2.2 million passengers annually.

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Cat Breeders Discover New Breed of Felines That Look Like Werewolves

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Tennessee-based breeders have created a new breed of cat with a touch of the supernatural. The ‘Lykoi’ has the looks of a werewolf, but apparently behaves more like a dog. Due to a genetic mutation in a domestic shorthair cat, the Lykoi has no hair around its eyes, nose, ears and muzzle, giving it a werewolfish appearance.

The name ‘Lykoi’ loosely translates as ‘wolf cat’ in Greek. It has patchy hair on the rest of its body and a ‘hound dog personality’. According to the official website for the breed, “They like to hunt around the house for whatever they can find. They show caution to strangers but warm up quickly and become very friendly.”

“There was no human intervention to create the cat,” said breeder Johnny Gobble. “The gene is a natural mutation that appeared in the domestic cat population. We are simply using the genetics of natural processes.”

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Snoopybabe, the Cute Flat-Faced Cat Taking the Chinese Internet by Storm

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Do you think mastering social media is hard? Apparently, it’s so easy even a cat can do it. Snoopybabe is China’s new internet sensation with 275,000 followers on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter and 190,000 fans on Instagram.  Hailing from the Sichuan Province, Snoopybabe, an American short-hair and Persian crossbreed, has taken the Chinese interwebs by storm with his cute short snout, innocent brown eyes and charming outfits.

His owner, Miss Ning started posting pictures of Snoopybabe a while back to show him off to her friends. She did not expect the huge attention the two-year old cat attracted. As she posted more videos and pictures of him in different poses and dressed in colorful clothing accessorized with elegant neck pieces, his popularity grew exponentially. He soon reached the same popularity level as already well-established felines such as Tardar Sauce aka Grumpy Cat or Maru. These adorable kitties have become irresistible even to big cat food companies such as Friskies which named Grumpy as their spokescat this month.

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Feline Fashion Calendar Features Stylish Cats Wearing Runway-Ready Designer Clothes

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Do you wish that your cat was just as fashionable as you? Now you can both wear couture designs courtesy of United Bamboo’s kitty clothing line. United Bamboo, a well-known fashion brand has been making calendars for three years now featuring cats dressed up in miniature versions of their most valued designs.

Wearing exact copies of runway clothing, the felines featured in the first issue belonged to friends and family. But soon the brand felt the need to start an Instagram campaign in order to find the most fashion forward cat lovers whose companions not only looked stylish in designer clothes but also looked good on camera. A number of kitties have been selected so far but the competition is tough and not all of them are going to make it in the 2014 issue. Some cats are already popular models such as Jasper, a part Maine coon, part domestic longhair cat who wears a red duffle parka on top of a striped shirt and is featured on the first month of the calendar. Another favorite, Huxtable, a hairless gentle-tomcat who loves “to hang out on people’s shoulders and will walk on a leash!” is wearing a simple yet stylish blouse and a black wool jumper. There is also sociaholic Prince Snowflake dressed in the brand’s colored binding coat, and toothpaste-phobic Gertrude wearing a sparkly dress. All the stars of the calendar are photographed by cat enthusiast Noah Sheldon, while the calendar itself is designed by Studio Lin.

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Houtong Cat Village – How a Few Purring Felines Saved a Dying Community

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This is the story of how a few dozen cats managed to save an entire community just by purring and looking pretty. Houtong was just another dilapidated mining town in the mountains of eastern New Taipei City, but everything changed when the felines came and livened up the place.

Houtong used to be one of Taiwan’s most important coal extraction sites, up until the 1970s. Then, oil and electricity took the place of coal, and the town suffered a steady decline. At one point it was reduced to a train stop along the Yilan line, one that most travelers ignored, and that forced many of its younger residents search for better opportunities elsewhere. The population of this defunct mining town dwindled from around six thousand inhabitants to a couple  of hundred, who struggled to survive. But their fortunes changed in 2008, when a cat lover who goes by the name “Palin88” organized a series of cat photography events in the mountain town. He and his friends posted the photos online, and got an overwhelming response from fellow feline enthusiasts. As they shared the photos on forums and social media sites, Houtong welcomed more and more tourists eager to photograph the cats themselves, or simply watch them roaming through the town. Nowadays, Houtong is known as the Cat Village, or Taiwan’s Cat Mecca.

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Chinese Grandma Spends All Her Life Savings Taking Care of Stray Dogs and Cats

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Grandma Bai, a 64-year-old animal lover from Chongqing, China, has spent the last 15 years taking care of stray dogs and cats, and has exhausted all her life savings in the process.

American humorists Josh Billings once said “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself”, and we’ve featured a few heartbreaking stories that prove this to be right. Remember Capitan, the German Shepherd who refused to leave his owner’s grave six years after he died, or Ciccio, the faithful dog who attends the daily Mass at the church where his master used to go? I’ve written a lot of impressive stories about dogs’ loyalty and love even beyond the grave, so it’s always nice to see some humans showing them some kindness in return. Case in point, Grandma Bai, a native of Leshan, China, who has spent all her savings and the last 15 years of her life taking care of over 100 stray dogs and 30 cats. Her love for these abandoned creatures and the sacrifices she has had to make have melted the hearts of millions, since the story broke out in China.

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New York Woman Makes a Living Catching Other People’s Cats

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If you’ve ever dreamed of living in New York, here’s one more reason for you to move there – Jordana Serebrenik. The name of her business explains it all. She is the founder, owner and sole worker of Catch Your Cat, which pretty much sums up what she does. This 45-year-old resident of Murray Hill will come to your home, catch your cat and will do with it anything you want her to.

Let’s face it. Although cats are very adorable creatures, they are fierce when it comes to personal space. Even a hint of threat to their independence and some of them they will even snarl at their own masters. So imagine trying to get a pet cat into a carrier to go to the vet. It could be quite a daunting task. More so, for the elderly or the physically impaired. That’s where Jordana and Catch Your Cat step in. For about $80, she will make sure the cat is in the box in no time at all.

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Russian Tattoo Artist Has His Pet Cat Tattooed

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Timur, a 24-year-old tattoo artist from Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan, caused a lot of controversy after he posted photos and a video of him tattooing his pet cat, a hairless Sphynx, on the Internet.

Apparently, Timur wanted his beloved cat, Coco, to have a similar tattoo as the one he had done on his chest. So he just put the hairless feline to sleep for an hour and unleashed his artistic talent on her little chest. Proud of his crazy idea, he videotaped the whole process and took some photos of the finished artwork and posted them on his VKontakte (Russian Facebook) profile. As you can imagine, animal rights activists weren’t very impressed with his achievement, and began accusing Timur of animal cruelty. Although the young artist tattooed Coco under the supervision of a veterinarian, animal lovers claim the Sphynx was still abused for no reason because every time a cat is put under she loses about a year of her life, and because the healing process for the tattoo is very painful. Also, if any paint got into her blood she could get very sick, and even die.

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California Cat Lady Adopts over 700 Feral and Abandoned Cats

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Lynea Lattanzio wanted a cat when she was little, but her mother didn’t approve. Now she runs California’s “Cat House on the Kings” shelter and takes care of almost 800 cats.

Lynea’s inspiring story began in 1981, when, after going through a difficult divorce, she decided to move to a quiet place on the river. She bought a 6-acre patch of land and settled in by 1983. Soon after she started asking herself: “What was I thinking, single woman with no children living in a big house on 6 acres?”, but little did she know her decision would change her life forever. Nine years later, Lynea’s father asked for her help to replace his 2 Manx cats who had died of old age. On a quest to fulfill her father’s wishes, Lynea stopped by a local animal shelter and walked out the door with a box of 15 abandoned kittens (none of which were Manx). By the end of that year she had rescued and placed 96 abandoned cats, and had found her calling.

In 1993, Lynea Lattanzio came out of retirement to become a surgical veterinary techinician, an experience that both expanded her medical knowledge and help pay the veterinary expenses of her increasing cat family that now numbered 150 members. She also had to sell her diamond wedding ring and her 1973 Mercedes 450 SL – her pride and joy. In 1997, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors approved a zoning variance on Lynea’s property, which put her Cat House on the KIngs into the spotlight and brought in financial support and volunteers. In 2002, she expanded her cat shelter and added long-term boarding facilities and an area for FIV positive cats.

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Meet Dusty, the Real Cat Burglar

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He steals all kinds of stuff from them every night, but they don’t mind having a cat burglar around the neighborhood. In fact they love Dusty so much they wouldn’t dream of spoiling his fun by taking better care of their things. But this is only because this cat burglar is an actual cat.

Jean Chu, from San Mateo, California, first noticed Dusty’s klepto tendencies four years ago, about a year after they adopted him from the Peninsula Humane Society. She noticed a latex glove on her bed, one morning, and told her husband, Jim, he should do a better job cleaning his mess. He said: ‘It wasn’t me. I think it was the cat.’ After that, Jean and Jim found all kinds of other stuff, on their doorstep, every morning. Dusty would bring home anything from gloves to towels, bubble wrap, swimsuits, baseball caps and footballs, and along the way, his masters started keeping a log of his junk stash.

Dusty brings home an average of three, four items a night, but has an all-time record of 11 items in 24 hours. Jean goes to the front door every morning and picks the stolen goods as she would the daily paper. She cleans them and walks around the neighborhood looking for the rightful owners. If she can’t find them, she stores everything in boxes, which are starting to get full. But that doesn’t really bother anybody, because whenever something goes missing, all the neighbors know who did it. Dusty has become a local celebrity, and he’s even been featured in People magazine, on Animal Planet and even on David Letterman.

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Feline Photographer Offers a Cat’s-Eye View on Life

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Cooper, a normal house cat from Seattle, has recently become one of the world’s most talked-about photographers after his owners tied a timer-controlled camera around his neck, which takes snaps of his day-to-day adventures.

His brilliant career began last year, when his owners, Michael and Deirdre Cross decided to attach the tiny camera in order to answer the question that plagues all cat owners – “where does my cat go all day?” It started out as a fun geography experiment, but when Cooper came home the first day, and they saw the amazing photos they were completely blown away. Michael and Deirdre realized it wasn’t about where their furry pet went all day, but about how beautiful and lush their neighborhood looked from a feline’s perspective.

The mini camera around Cooper’s neck takes photos every two minutes, revealing everything that he sees. Whether it catches other cats, one of his many hiding places, his owners, or the big blue sky, the camera revealed some pretty amazing shots and practically made Cooper a star. It also helped his owners understand more about their pet, for example, they noticed Cooper spent a lot of time looking at the back door, and realized a lot of his time was spent looking for a way to get inside. So they got a cat flap and noticed he was much happier.

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The Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas of the Cats

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The Monastery of Saint Nicholas of the Cats is regarded as a sacred cat haven in Cyprus, as it’s name has been linked to felines for almost 2,000 years.

The original monastery was built in 327 AD, by Kalokeros, the first Byzantine governor of Cyprus, and patronised by Saint Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. At that time, a terrible drought affected the whole of Cypus, and the entire island was overrun with poisonous snakes which made building the monastery a dangerous affair. Many of the inhabitants left their homes and moved off the island, for fear of the snakes, but Saint Helena came up with a solution to the plague – she ordered 1,000 cats to be shipped in from Egypt and Palestine to fight the reptiles.

In the following years, the cats did their duty, hunting and killing most of the snakes in the Akrotiri Peninsula, which soon came to be known as the “Cat Peninsula”. The monks would use a bell to call the cats to the monastery at meal time, and then the felines were dispatched to their snake-hunting duties. Pilgrims from all around Europe traveled to the Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas to see its feline guardians, and the discovered documents of a Venetian monk describe them as scarred, missing various body parts, some completely blind as a result of their relentless battle against the snakes.

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Japan’s Cat Island Safe after Quake and Tsunami

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Tashirojima, also known as “Cat Island” was believed to have been devastated by the recent 9.0 earthquake and following tsunami, but a recent report shows both the human and feline population are safe.

I’m sure you’re as happy as I am to finally hear some good news after the disaster that recently struck Japan, but you’re probably wondering why I’m posting such news on a blog that’s supposed to be about oddities. You see, Tashirojima isn’t just some island off the coast of Japan, it’s somewhat of a cat haven where the human inhabitants believe their purring companions bring them luck and protection from harm. After the recent events, and the population’s miraculous survival, many are inclined to agree.

Cats were apparently brought to Tashirojima Island a long time ago, to eradicate the rodent population that prevented the successful breeding of silk worms. The felines did their job, but they also began gathering at fisherman inns and begging for scraps. Over time the people of the island became so fond of cats that they started studying their behavior and interpreting it as weather predictions and fish patterns. They even built a small cat shrine in the middle of the island, which has become a popular tourist attraction for cat lovers.

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Feline Lover Collects over 2,000 Ceramic Cats

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60-year-old Pamela Cole has spent most of her life putting together an impressive collection of over 2,000 ceramic cats, and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon.

When Ms. Cole says she’s crazy about cats, you best believe she means it – her house in Hollywood, Birmingham is practically full of ceramic cats, from a common replicas of cartoon characters like Top Cat, to 7th century BC Egyptian statuettes.

This unusual obsession with ceramic cats can be traced back to Pamela Cole’s childhood years, in the 1940s, when her mother bought her a cat to stop her feeling lonely. It was a simple pottery cat from a gift store in Corporation Street, but it kick-started her passion for collecting, and from then on she spent her days scouring shops and craft fairs in search of cat china.

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The Cat Museum of Kuching

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Located in the strange UFO-like DBKU building, in Kuching, the Cat Museum is the perfect tourist attraction for cat lovers interested in anything and everything feline.

The Malaysian city of Kuching translates as The Cat City, so it makes perfect sense it have its very own cat museum, especially since many Malaysians believe cats bring good luck. The Cat Museum, along with dozens of cat statues around Kuching were erected in celebration of the city’s name, and the important role cats play in the every day life of the locals. It was inaugurated in 1993, and has since then become a favorite destination of cat lovers all over the world.

The Cat Museum of Kuching features over 2,000 feline related items, but it’s much more than just a collection of artifacts – it’s also a research center that focuses on the history and various beliefs surrounding cats. Among the most impressive displays are a mummified Egyptian cat dating back to 3500 BC, and the only stuffed specimen of the world’s rarest cat, Felis badia,  which lives in the jungles of Borneo. There are also plenty of cat statues made by various cultures, cat photos, posters and even stamps for cat loving philatelists or morbid cat burial scenes.

Believed to be the only one of its kind in the world, the Kuching Cat Museum offers plenty of valuable information into the history of cats and their part in human life, and is a must-visit attraction for cat enthusiasts everywhere.

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