tsunami

Cats in Japan, one year later

Japan Cat Network cat in Fukushima

Today is the one year anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck 40 miles off the coast of Japan. The quake tilted the earth’s axis and triggered a series of powerful tsunamis, which wrought destruction for more than 6 miles inland. Fifteen thousand people died, thousands are still missing a year later. There are no statistics on how many animals died in the quake, but the number is sure to be staggering.

Immediately after the quake, animals rescue groups from around the world came together to help animals displaced by the massive disaster. One of the groups instrumental in coordinating rescue efforts on the ground in the early days was Japan Cat Network. I got in touch with Susan Roberts, the founder of Japan Cat Network, to find out how cats are faring in the earthquake area, one year later.

Japan Cat Network’s volunteers are still tirelessly working in the affected areas to help as many cats as they can. Continue Reading

Cats in Japan still need your help

cat-fukushima-evacuation-zone

After the devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March, animal rescue groups from around the world came together to help the animals displaced by the massive disaster. One of the groups which was instrumental in coordinating rescue efforts on the ground in the early days was Japan Cat Network. Nine months later, their volunteers are still working in the affected areas.

The current situation

When the area around the Fukushima nuclear reactor was evacuated, many animals were left behind. Susan Roberts, the founder of Japan Cat Network, says it’s difficult to estimate the number of animals in the evacuated areas. People tend to quote the number of registered dogs in the area (6000 dogs in the 20km evacuation zone alone, and evacuations continue beyond this radius), and there is no requirement to register cats, so there is no telling how many cats were left to fend for themselves.Continue Reading

Update on animal rescue efforts in Japan

animal rescue Japan

Thre weeks have passed since the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, which was then followed by the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in northern Japan. As recovery efforts in the affected areas continue, radiation has contaminated water and soil in Japan, and possibly beyond. This is a developing story, and there are still more questions than answers as to the environmental impact of the crisis.

In the meantime, animal rescue groups are on the ground in Japan, trying to rescue as many animals as they can. One of the biggest challenges rescuers are facing is re-uniting pets with their owners. As The Cat’s Meow blog reports, most shelters don’t allow pets, and pet owners were often faced with making a horrible choice between evacuating and leaving their pets behind, or staying in unsafe homes.

“This is a big calamity for pets, along with people,” said Sugano Hoso of the Japan branch of the U.S.-based United Kennel Club. “Many are on their own, and many more are trapped in evacuated areas where people have left.”

Tamae Morino brought her Persian-mix cat, Lady, to Fukushima city’s main shelter , but Lady is forced to stay outside. Like many of the animal victims of the earthquake and tsunami, Lady is frightened and agitated, and it’s been difficult for her to cope with the sudden change in environment.

“She got sick, and is still very nervous,” Morino said. “She is an important part of our family. But they don’t allow pets into the shelter, so she has to sleep alone in the car. She seems very lonely. We are happy to have her with us, though. So many cats just vanished.”

Thanks to the dedicated work of volunteers from rescue groups in Japan and from around the world, there are a few happy stories in the midst of all this devastation. Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support posts daily updates of their rescue efforts, chronicling both challenges and successes, on their Facebook page.  You can also follow them on Twitter.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) posted a comprehensive FAQ for pet owners about the earthquake in Japan on their website.

And what about the cats and people on Cat Island? Conscious Cat reader Paula has been in touch with several people in Japan, and based on what she’s hearing, the cats and people on the island are okay. According to an e-mail Paula received from a Japanese journalist, the damage in Tashiro was not as big as it was in other parts of Honshu. They had a 16 to 20 foot high wave, and the buildings closest to the port were destroyed. Sadly, some cats near the port were killed, but the rest are fine and are being taken care of by people, just like before the quake. According to the journalist, the Japanese defense forces and the US military have been flying food and supplies, including cat food, to the island.

The following video shows a Japanese woman who was reunited with her cat a few days after the quake:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrKy_rFi550

Conscious Cat reader Paula provided the following translation: “She says that it’s the first time she came where her house was, then she says that she kept a cat. Then she says that she went there when the tsunami hit and she looked for it but couldn’t find it, so she just ran as she stood. Then when they go inside, she explains where the dining room was and then she hears meowing!!! And she says “the cat, it survived.” Kitty’s name is Non and she calls it Nonchan (term of endearment).”

Photo source: JEARS Facebook page. This photo was taken in a small shelter in Sendai. The building was water damaged, and there were overturned cars and debris everywhere. Miraculously, the 60+ cats inside were all okay.

For more on the earthquake in Japan, please read:

Help the animals in Japan

Radiation concerns and your pet

Help the animals in Japan

Japan Earthquake

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.

Japan earthquake man with dogWorld 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.

Cat Island Japan

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