Cat Island: Japanese Island Tashiro-Jima is Run by Hundreds of Cats

source: Katie McFadden of Travelers Today

Crazy cat ladies rejoice! There is an entire cat island that is dominated by cats that you go to!

Cats from Cat Island

Cats from Cat Island

Many cities try hard to control the cat population by encouraging spaying and neutering, but an island in Japan encourages the growth of its feline community. Tashiro-jima, a small island in the Miyagi Prefecture, is home to more cats than humans. The island has earned the nickname “Cat Island” as it only has about 100 residents, with many over the age 65, but the island is run by hundreds upon hundreds of cats, Yahoo reports.

Tashiro-jima was once a popular stop for fisherman during the 1800s. Fisherman would go to the island overnight and cats would follow them to the inns to beg for food. The fisherman eventually became fond of their feline friends and they began to use them to their advantage. The fisherman interpreted the cat’s behavior as predictions of weather and fish patterns.

The fisherman had a belief that they would be brought wealth and good luck if they fed the cats. This is still believed today.

A local story says that a fisherman was collecting rocks for his nets one day when one of the stones fell and killed a cat. To make up for the death, the man buried the cat and created a shrine. There are at least 10 cat shrines in the Miyagi Prefecture today.

In addition to shrines, there are also 51 cat monuments and even cat-shaped buildings that have ears on the roof scattered throughout the island.

Visitors are more than welcome to the island. It is accessible by a ferry and visitors will find that the felines are friendly and will come right up to them as they search for food or a hand to pet them. The only guests that aren’t allowed on the island are dogs.

For some photos of the island, check out Japanese photograph Fubirai’s album.

Cat Island isn’t the only place run by a particular animal. Another island in Japan, Okunoshima, is full of rabbits.