Japan’s Cat Island Safe after Quake and Tsunami

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.

The human population of Cat Island has been dwindling since the 1950’s and there are now roughly 100 permanent residents who work in the fishing and travel industry. The feline population on the other hand has been thriving under the protection of their worshipers, who made sure that no anti-cat animals (like dogs) were allowed on their island. There are now thousands of cats living on Tashirojima, most of them strays, but regardless of their status they are all revered for their good fortune, beauty and ability to keep the rodent population down.

It appears the cats gave up some of their nine lives to keep themselves and their human masters safe from the earthquake and its aftermath, but a report of the Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support shows all inhabitants of the island are in need of supplies. Boats can’t reach Tashirojima because of the large quantities of debris in the water, but a helicopter should have already reached the island delivering both human and cat food.

The following video is in Thai, but it was the most interesting one I found on Cat Island. The footage speaks for itself.

News via Discovery

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