‘Cat Heaven Island’ in Japan Draws Tourists and More Cats [Gallery]

Photographer Fubirai captured a small island known to locals as ‘Cat Heaven’.

  • Photo: FubiraiPhoto: Fubirai
  • Photo: FubiraiPhoto: Fubirai
  • Photo: FubiraiPhoto: Fubirai
  • Photo: FubiraiPhoto: Fubirai
  • Photo: FubiraiPhoto: Fubirai

Everybody knows that the Internet is captured and conquered by cats, and that’s why a Japanese island that is also overrun with cats gained plenty of popularity.

A photographer, who calls himself Fubirai, has spent more than five years documenting the lives of the semi-wild cats that roam Fukuoka, Japan, a small island known to locals as ‘Cat Heaven’.

About one hundred of people live on the island, taking care for the pussy beasts that outnumbered them long time ago, as the locals believe that feeding cats will bring wealth and good luck.

The fluffy animals were first brought to the island as means of keeping mice at bay from the silkworm farms.  However, after industry left the region, the human population followed the same pattern.

That’s was the time when the cat population boomed. Today the locals, who are mainly fiishermen, believe that cats can predict weather patterns.

The island has now become quite popular place among tourists who are coming to see the cats.

“If you ever have the chance to visit the island, note that dogs are not welcome. Apparently no canines live on the island, and bringing them is frowned upon,” The Daily Mail writes.

“The cats are welcome into fishermen’s boats, homes as if they are the ones that truly run the shore. Cats are often coddled like part of the fishermen’s families. They feed them daily and play with them whenever the cats demand play time,” reports Love Meow.

“These island cats seem to have created such a bond with their human friends. It’s amazing to see them fishing together by the shore or just hanging out on the door steps playing with children.”

By the way, in Japan, there are not one but two “cat heaven islands.”

“Tashiro-jima is a small island known as “cat island.” It is located in the Pacific Ocean off the Oshika Peninsula and has a population of only about 100 people, with 83 percent of them 65 years or older,” reads an article of Care 2.

“In the past, islanders raised silkworms for silk and cats were needed to fend off mice. Fishermen also frequented Tashiro-jima and, when they stayed at inns, cat would appear seeking scraps. Over time, the fishermen found observing the cats helpful, to predict weather patterns.”

“After a fisherman saw a cat killed by a rock, he buried it and built a shrine, now known as Neko-jinja. It was the first of what are now ten cat shrines in Miyagi Prefecture (where Tashiro-jima is located); there are also 51 stone monuments in the shape of cats.”

This cat island appeared to be quite close to the earthquake that hit the country back in 2011, causing terrible severe damages and loss of life in Japan.

According to reports, the island’s residents, human and cat, survived the destructive natural disaster. They were immediately in need of food which the organization Animal Friends Niigata, along with rescue workers, were able to get to them.

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