Tashiro-jima Island — how a small piece of land became a cat's paradise
Categories: Animals | Asia | History | PositiveBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/tashiro-jima-island-how-a-small-piece-of-land-became-a-cats-paradise
There are many places on Earth where cats have a special attitude. But nowhere are they more taken care of than on the Japanese island of Tashiro-jima. On this small piece of land, the area of which barely exceeds 3 square kilometers, there are much more cats than people. Despite this, she is all fed and provided with affection. "Cat Island", which is how the Japanese call this place, has an ancient history.
There are six times more cats on Tashiro than there are people. They are treated here as deities and surrounded with attention and care. The first cats appeared on the island many centuries ago. In the Middle Ages, silkworms were bred here and excellent silk fabrics for kimonos were produced. The products of Tashiro manufactories were in great demand in Japan and beyond. And the inhabitants of the island, thanks to their hard work and skill, had a good income.
But it is not easy to breed a silkworm, since this butterfly has many natural enemies. On the island, the scariest of them were mice. Cocoons and caterpillars were easy prey for rodents and a simple and effective solution to the problem was needed. So the first cats appeared on the island, which, thanks to the abundant catch of mice and human love, multiplied rapidly.
Over time , the production of silk on Tashiro has fallen into disrepair. Its inhabitants began to feed themselves by fishing. Of course, the cats of the island were not against such changes, because fresh sea fish is no worse than mice. Now local fishermen go to sea from two ports: Odomari and Nitoda. And cats turned from patrons of sericulture into deities responsible for the catch.
In the center of the island, the grateful Japanese erected a sanctuary dedicated to cats. Animals also have other, more material privileges. They are fed, heated and treated. It is also strictly forbidden to bring dogs to the island. And cats faithfully serve people for their attitude towards them. In 2011, the animals predicted a tsunami and Tashiro residents managed to evacuate to the safe central part of the island.
Unfortunately, there is a possibility that soon there will be no one to take care of the cats. The population of the island is catastrophically declining. Now, according to various estimates, from 70 to 100 people live on Tasiro. These are mostly elderly people, whose average age is 71 years. Young people leave the island, not wanting to live far from civilization, and do the only thing available — fishing.
Life on the island is supported again thanks to the cats, of which there are more than 500. The history of the "Cat Island" attracts tourists to Tasiro. Guests come by boat to feed and pet the furry owners of the island and, of course, take interesting photos. Old people inhabiting two island villages sell souvenirs to tourists and tell the story of their homeland.
Despite the unfavorable forecasts of scientists, Tashiro residents believe that their island will be reborn. They don't want it to turn into another attraction completely abandoned by people. Then who will take care of the cats?
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