Extraordinary Photo of Feral Cats on Cat Island

Cat island is small (1.9 km long) and off the southern coast of Japan. It is attached to the mainland so is it an island? There are 20 people living on it. There are over 120 cats and they are the offspring of a few parents it seems, judging by this extraordinary photograph which is genuine but which has the appearance of being a collage created with Photoshop.

Cats on Cat Island japan
Cats on Cat Island, Japan
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The cats on the island are a tourist attraction bringing in some money. It was a place where the fishing industry was thriving as in 1945 there were 900 inhabitants. It was first inhabited 380 years ago.

Fish stocks declined and people left. The cats were brought over from the mainland to control a mice infestation. As less people became available to manage the cat colony it grew rapidly in size. The situation got out of hand.

Progress to spay and neuter is too slow. Culling the female population has been proposed. Why just the females and why not spay and neuter en masse because the cats are semi-feral and probably easy to trap or perhaps even pick up and place in carriers. I may be dreaming but it looks that way.

The cats feed on rice balls, and other human food scraps provided by tourists. This is not good at all.

Map showing where the island (Aoshima) is.

17 thoughts on “Extraordinary Photo of Feral Cats on Cat Island”

  1. The photo is real. As you say, we’re just not used to seeing that many similar looking cats, so close together in one photo. I imagine there would be a similar reaction if the photo were of 50 cats of one breed. Perhaps if we think of the Tashirojima (Cat Island) as a natural breed, then the photo makes sense and seems less surreal?

    Cats were originally brought to the island to control the mice who were feeding on the silkworms. The silkworm farms may be long gone, but there are stil a number of humans living on the island, which probably explains why one of the cats is wearing a collar. Apparently cats outnumber humans 6 to 1 on Cat Island. Sounds like a good place to me 🙂


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