Cats have taken over several of Japan’s “Cat Islands” from humans. At least, that’s how it appears. To offer you (two) examples, below are the most well-known ones (s).
Japan is a country that appreciates charming “kawaii” items. What could be cuter than an island full with cats? The Japanese have coined the phrase Nekojima to describe these exceptional locales, which serve as evidence of cats’ influence in Japan.
Each island has its own narrative about how it came to be ruled by the hairy felines. What can be stated about all of them is that, while the majority of the cats on them are feral, many residents continue to care for them. However, as the residents age and the cat population expands apparently rapidly, these islands are literally being taken over by cats – especially because there are no predators on these islands, where canines are frequently prohibited.
This frequently means that an island has more cats than people, making it difficult for inhabitants to care for them all. As the number of cats increases and their presence becomes overpowering, more inhabitants opt to depart permanently.
Consider Aoshima, a 1 mile (1.6 km) long island in Japan’s Ehime Prefecture. Cats have been reported to outnumber people by ratios ranging from 6:1 to 10:1, but as the island’s old population has perished, the ratio has risen to over 36:1. Felines were brought aboard fishing boats to kill rodents, but they stayed and multiplied in great numbers.
However, when sardine fisheries declined and employment were relocated to cities, Aoshima’s human population shrank dramatically. On the island, there are presently just 6 human occupants and over 100 cats that are fed by food donations from all across Japan. The felines also consume the island’s rodents and some food left by tourists.
When it comes to dinnertime, Aoshima has no shortage of hairy backs.
No one shall travel by here until food is provided!
Anyone seen some fish in here?
Tashirojima, a tiny island in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture, is another well-known Japanese cat paradise. Residents maintained cats to keep rodents away from their prized silkworms, which they grew for textiles. To combat the increasing rodent population that endangered the valuable silk-worm business, all domestic cats in Japan were liberated by legislation in 1602, resulting in Tashirojima’s booming wild cat population.
The cats are also allowed to wander the entire island and are properly cared for by the small inhabitants. Cats are said to bring good luck and fortune, and this luck is multiplied when they are fed.
However, like in the case of Aoshima, the island’s luck hasn’t doubled in terms of retaining inhabitants. Many people have avoided the island due to the rising number of cats, as well as for other reasons, reducing its population from 1,000 to roughly 100. Some dedicated islanders stay, though, to ensure that the island is protected and the cats are cared after.
Cats are so adored in this country that there are cat temples where you may worship them. However, if you decide to do just that and travel to the island, be cautious when attempting to feed them.
Although the felines are accustomed to humans adoring them, opening a can of tuna may draw a throng.