JAPAN – By now, everyone is familiar with the cat café.
What will happen when you need to leave the comforting confines of the city though, and head (gasp) into the countryside?
Japan apparently has the answer – a cat train!
The world’s very first cat train set off yesterday from the city of Ogaki, with 30 kitties on board. Passengers were encouraged to do everything from sit, play and cuddle with the cats, before even eating lunch!
There’s a serious message, however, within all the stroking and cooing at kittens though.
Hosted by Yoro Railway Co Ltd and non-governmental group Kitten Cafe Sanctuary, the entire event was set up to raise awareness of the problem of stray cats in Japan, and the volume of those culled when they’re unable to be housed.
Due to the wonderful efforts of groups like Kitten Cafe Sanctuary, the number of cats admitted to Japanese shelters has dropped by 70% since 2004, with 72,624 admitted back in 2016. Likewise, the number of cats who were culled has also sunk, from 238,929 in 2004 to 45,574 in 2016.
While that’s still sadly 45,574 way too many, it is indeed a huge leap in the right direction.
Now, if only we could get cat trains over here in the USA!