Tashirojima is a small island off the coast of Japan. It has become known as “Cat Island” due to the large stray cat population: cats on the island outnumber people four to one. Cat Heaven Island is a feature documentary that will take a look into the lives of the people and the cats who live on this beautiful peace of land.Continue Reading
As we’ve been watching the rescue and recovery efforts in Japan for the past ten days, trying to wrap our minds around the devastation, and desperately looking for some good news in the middle of all the bad news, cat lovers around the world have been anxiously waiting to find out what happened to the cats on Tashirojima, Japan’s Cat Island.
Conscious Cat reader Paula has been in touch online with a Japanese online site directly devoted to Tashirojima, and she provided the following information earlier today:
“A girl whose friend returned from the island yesterday confirmed that while a few cats died (near the gatehouse), the others are okay. There are about 50 people left on the island, and they are said to have received food (both for the humans and the cats). It seems that when power and water will be restored, things will be fairly okay, all things considered.”
A few minutes ago, a volunteer from Japanese Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support, a coalition of Japan Cat Network, Heart Tokushima and Animal Friends Niigata, posted this update:
“I just got through to a representative at an NPO called Hiyokkori Hyoutan Tashirojima on the land phone, and ‘everybody, humans and animals, is safe.’ He said that it is the areas in Ishinomaki that need 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!”
As we breathe a sigh of relief that the island cats are safe, please remember that there are still many animals that are lost and missing. Numerous rescue groups, including World Vets, are on the ground in Japan trying to save as many of them as they can, and they need your help. For more information on how to help, please read Help the Animals in Japan.
Photo source: tofugu.com
The scale of the devastation in Japan is horrifying, and as rescue organizations from around the world rally to assist the recovery efforts, our thoughts and prayers go out to the people and animals affected by the earthquake and tsunami.
The organizations below specifically help with animal rescue efforts in the affected areas.
World Vets is a non-government organization (NGO) providing veterinary aid around the globe in collaboration with animal advocacy groups, foreign governments, US and foreign military groups and veterinary professionals abroad. They are getting supplies and a first responder team ready to deploy to Japan.
March 15 update: World Vets is also accepting donations of veterinary supplies and medications at their Fargo, ND headquarters.
The American Humane Association’s Red Star Animal Emergency Services Team is monitoring the situation closely and is reaching out to its international partners in order to provide a joint response to this global emergency.
The National Disaster Search Dog Foundation has deployed search and rescue teams to Japan.
The Animal Refuge Kansai is an organization in Kansai, Japan, that is preparing for a huge influx of animals from the disaster areas.
Japan Cat Network, together with Heart Tokushima and Animal Friends Niigata has formed Japan Animal Rescue and Support. They are providing frequent updates of rescue efforts on their Facebook page.
March 15 update: they’ve posted a wish list of items for in country donations, but ask that you contact them before shipping anything from overseas.
Please note that the donation links for the organizations in Japan take you to the Japanese language version of PayPal. Once you enter the amount of your donation in Japanese yen (4000 yen is roughly $50 US), and enter your PayPal login information, it takes you to an English PayPal page and you can complete the donation.
The Animal Miracle Network Foundation is collecting cell phones to send to volunteers helping animals in Japan.
March 17 update: The Huffington Post posted some photos and more information about some of the organizations listed above in this article.
As we’re mourning the loss of life with Japan’s citizens, and praying for those who’ve lost so much, cat lovers around the world are also wondering about the fate of the cats of Japan’s Cat Island. Sadly, it is believed that the island became fully submerged during the tsunami.
March 13 update: see Paula’s comments below for the latest on Cat Island.
March 14 update: the NASA photo Paula referenced in her comment, and additional updates on the Pet Captain’s blog.
March 15 update: Yet another hopeful update about Cat Island on The Cat’s Meow from Betty: “My brother’s wife is Japanese and she knows a girl whose parents live in the Cat Island and they were able to get in touch with them. They said that the island sank around 30 centimeters in the water and there was some damage to property, but cats and people are ok! They need help, of course, but the Island is still there.”
March 20 Updates: Japan’s Cat Island is safe
Photo of kitten from Petcaptain.com, photo of man holding dog from World Vets Facebook page, photo of Cat Island from tofugu.com