Cats rule the roost on this Japanese island. Here, cats greatly outnumber humans by six to one in this land of cats. These felines miaow, prowl and curl up at will on Aoshima Island, one of the about dozen islands surrounding mainland Japan.
The story behind cat island
Cats were brought to the fishing hamlet of Aoshima Island to tackle the mice menace in the 1940s. The human population then was around 1,000, but now the number of human residents has dwindled to less than 20 on this island.
More than a hundred cats give company to the residents who are aged between 50 and 80 years. Earlier, many people moved to other parts of Japan seeking better life leaving behind the feline residents. The abandoned buildings and the cats are a testimony that over 900 people once stayed on the island.
Though Aoshima is not a tourist centre, nearly 60 tourists visit the island daily from the mainland on a boat. The cat island is becoming a favourite destination for people from different parts of Japan. But there are some important things that should be kept in mind while paying a visit to the island. There are no hotels, restaurants, shops, or vending machines on this unique island. The tourists should bring food and drinking water and also take back the waste generated by them.
The visitors are also supposed to carry food for the cats too otherwise you will have to share your food with the feline residents. The tourists visiting the island are also expected to give due respect to humans, who are elderly, residing on the island, and, of course, the cats.