A glimpse at Japan’s animals: Cat Island

As I’ve mentioned before, the purpose of our bake sale is to raise some much-needed donations for the people and animals who have been affected by the disaster in Japan. We will be splitting all of the profits from the bake sale 50/50 between two organizations who are already busy providing ground relief in Japan: Direct Relief International and the Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support (JEARS) coalition.

Photo of Japan’s Cat Island. From Virusog’s Live Journal

As a self-proclaimed cat lady, the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami left me concerned about the fate of Tashirojima Island–more commonly known as Cat Island.  It’s a small island inhabited by more cats than people. Although initial rumors claimed that the island may have been submerged underwater, it is now known that the island has survived the tsunami with minimal loss of life. Last Sunday (March 20th),  JEARS made the following statement about Cat Island on their Facebook page:

GREAT NEWS! I just got through to a representative at an NPO called ひょっこりひょうたん田代島 (Hiyokkori Hyoutan Tashirojima) on the land phone, and “Everybody, humans and animals, is safe”. He said that it is the areas in Ishinomaki that needs more help now! Food, water, everything is sufficiently supplied. It is the electricity that is still needed on the island. The kitties are all safe. With the kind of purity and reverence the residents have for our beautiful feline friends, the cats are being well taken care of by these beautiful people. I am so happy! This is direct from someone on the island. Safety confirmed!

However, food and supplies have started to run low, and JEARS has been trying to get helicopters to take cat food to the island (alongside the supplies for people that were being sent). By Wednesday (March 23), JEARS provided the following English translation of an article in Mainichi News, Japan:

In the morning of March 22nd, ASDF helicopters landed on a remote island, Tashirojima, which air route, only way to access other places, was cut off after the earth quake. In Tashirojima, 80 % of the total population, 73 people, are older than 65 years. After about 1 week after the quake, emergency supplies started to arrive in the island. On 22nd, 800 kilo-litters of gasoline and kerosene, food for 100 meals were delivered along with satellite phones that will enable the residents to communicate with hospitals to ask help for acute sickness/injuries. SDF personnel says that relief teams are usually supposed to be able to reach all parts of affected area within a couple of days after disasters. Emergency materials finally started to get across affected areas. On Tashirojima island, younger residents of the island, although they are already in early 50s, carried and distributed the aid supplies with SDF.

JEARS has promised to continue to monitor the needs of the cats on Cat Island in order to see if cat food can also be transported to the island and will post updates on their Facebook page. If you would like to hear more about what JEARS is doing, would like to donate, or are in Japan and would like to serve as a foster parent for rescued pets, check out their Facebook page.

Here’s some more images of Cat Island, just because the internet can never have enough cats:

Photos from Virusog’s Live Journal

Apparently the fisherman and the kitties get along pretty well:


One response to “A glimpse at Japan’s animals: Cat Island

  1. Pingback: Direct Relief International | The Akron Vegan Bake Sale for Japan

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