Cat Island also known as Tashirojima is a small island in Ishinomaki, Miyagi, Japan. The island contains two villages. The number of people living on the island has fallen from over 1000 to just under 100 in the last 50 years. However, for every person on the island, there are at least 6 cats.
In Japan’s late Edo Period(the 1800’s), much of the island raised silkworms for their textiles. The residents kept cats to chase the mice away from their silkworms. Over time, this cat population began to grow rapidly.
The local people believe that feeding cats will bring wealth and good fortune. Some residents even claim that it was the cats who kept the majority of the island from being destroyed during the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
They have even built a shrine to the cats placed between the two villages. The story around the shrine is that one day when the fishermen were collecting rocks to use with the fishing nets, a stray rock fell and killed one of the cats. The fishermen, feeling sorry for the loss of the cat, buried it and enshrined it at this location on the island.
There are no pet dogs allowed on the island. Lucky cats!
Hey! Have you heard about the village built in an island volcano?
Shrine photo credit: ダダ