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Watch: The Sad Reality of Japan’s Famous Cat Island – Aoshima

Aoshima Island is home to hundreds of cute cats that roam around the tiny island. This island located in Ehime prefecture was once lively fishing village, but is now home to only 6 permanent residents. After hearing about all the adorable cats, we made sure to add this island to part of our Shikoku itinerary. But the reality of everything is this place may not last for that much longer…

Apart from humans, cats are almost the only animals on the island, a fact that has made them fearless. They fill the streets and enjoy jumping on the tourists and begging for food. Despite the island’s popularity, the human islanders are less happy with all the tourists and claim they can take care of the cats themselves.

Aoshima Island is not the only cat island in Japan; there are a few other islands that are mostly populated by cats, albeit for different reasons. On the island of Tashirojima, for example, there are a total of one hundred humans and over 100 cats. Residents of the island view tending to the cats as sacred and take good care of them. Local law even forbids owning dogs on the island so as not to scare the cats.