Cat Island


I know a guy who as 20 cats, and I have always imagined his house looks something like this! With cats roaming around literally everywhere, this place is either nightmare or a dream come true. For me it is definitely the latter!

This feline frenzied place you are seeing is called Tashirojim, a small Japanese island in the Pacific Ocean off the Oshika Peninsula, which is appropriately nick-named cat island. The stray cat population on this island has thrived as humans living there believe they bring good wealth and good fortune. These cats are truly the rulers of this territory, in fact not only do they out-number the human population on the island, the humans living there have banned their arch rival canines from even coming on to the island. Well played kitties, well played.

This cat worshiping trend started long ago as the ancient villagers produced silk as their primary textile. Mice are natural predators of the silkworm, and cats are natural predators of the mouse, so you can clearly see why the people needed those kitties around. As the cat population grew the cats would frequent the inns that housed the fishermen and beg for scraps. The lonely fishermen eventually bonded with the cats and observed their behavior closely, interpreting their actions as predictions of the weather and fish patterns.


The island is adorned with both shrines and rock sculptures honoring cats. Housed in the middle of the island is a cat shrine called Neko-jinja. This shrine was built in honor of a cat who was accidentally killed by a stray rock when the fishermen were casting their nets. The fishermen were so grief stricken over the loss of the cat, they buried and enshrined it in the middle of the island.

Cats all over the world make their way into people’s homes and hearts. On Cat Island they rule the land, and are finally treated like the gods they are! I personally don’t see enshrining my cats any time soon, but given the chance I would love to visit this island.


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Wendy Aburto

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