Aoshima Island is a place where cats rule the land and that’s why the island is also called Cat Island. If you are a tourist visiting Japan’s Aoshima Island these feral felines will be looking for a handout of snacks.
Aoshima Island is a tourist attraction because it’s a feral cat haven and you don’t have to go far to find them once stepping off the ferry and onto the dock! Instead of greeters throwing flowers or waving the boats in, you’re greeted with a meow chorus that’s practiced daily!
The furry felines line up at the docks of Cat Island to greet the tourists who come out to the stark island void of restaurants, coffee shops and stores. The only thing to do on Cat Island is to walk among the cats. These feral cats outnumber the residents on this Japanese island six to one, according to Today’s News Gazette on March 3.
Aoshima, or Cat Island, is a mile-long island that is a thirty minute ferry ride off southern Japan’s Ehime prefecture. It is home to a handful of pensioners who can’t escape the reality that they are inundated with cats. The residents don’t seem to mind the feral felines too much, except for an occasional sweeping of the broom to get them away from their doors or out of their gardens.
The cats were originally brought out to the island to take care of the overwhelming mouse population, which was a problem for the local fishermen as mice were invading their boats. The few cats that were dropped off on the island years ago were the start of a population explosion and today there’s 120 cats wandering the island, according to MSN News.
The locals are now invested in keeping the population in check and so far 10 cats have been caught, spayed or neutered, then let go again on the island. For the tourists who come out to Cat Island, it is like some type of therapy for them, as many find walking among the cats a peaceful and rejuvenating experience. The island is free of feline predators, so they roam the island with ease giving the impression that they rule the island.
Some of the residents aren’t too thrilled with the tourists coming out to the island, but others find that it breaks up the day watching people walking along with the cats. These feral cats survive mostly on what the tourists feed them, pieces of snack bars, chips and rice cakes are just a few of the snacks the cats are used to.
In 1945, the Aoshima Island was home to about 900 people and the vacant homes left over from the island’s heyday make perfect dwellings for the cats to call home. Apparently the people in Japan love cats, they even have cat cafes for the cat lovers who aren’t allowed to have a pet in their apartments. The cafe gives cat lovers a place to go and fraternize with the house pets. This is probably why Aoshima Island, or Cat Island, is such a big draw for the people of Japan.