On Tashirojima Island in Japan, cats are treated like I believe they all think they deserve – like royalty. Located off the coast of Ishinomaki City in Miyagi Prefecture (in Japan, of course), the island’s not quite 100 human residents feed and care for the cats, who number in the hundreds. In Japanese culture, cats represent luck and good fortune, so caring for them is considered doubly lucky. And because keeping them as pets is considered inappropriate, most of the island’s feline inhabitants are feral, though well fed and generally cared for.
In addition to its living furry residents, Tashirojima Island features a shrine to a cat god. According to local legend, the island’s fisherman used to use cats to predict both the weather and the success of their catch. However, one day, a cat was killed in an accident, causing the island to go into mourning. In memory of the lost animal, the fisherman erected the shrine to worship cats as a deity.
Though dogs are not permitted on the island (for the obvious reasons), tourists regularly make their way there. But the tourism site advises that if you’d like to feed the cats, you should bring your own cat food or treats. Since roughly 83% of Tashirojima Island’s human residents are over the age of 65, the island is looking for new residents. So if you know any cat people looking to relocate…
You can check out Tashirojima Island on the Japan.travel website.