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Cat Island: A Fantasy Travel Destination For Any Cat Enthusiast

June 08, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 190

Cat Island definitely sounds like a fairy tale land, but it is actually a real island off of the coast of Japan. Cat Island, or Tashirojima Island as it is referred to in Japan, is an island that has a larger cat population than human population. These cats are not owned by anyone on the island, and are instead the main residents of the island. Although these felines are not anyone's pets, they are treated with the same love and respect as if they were. The island is completely dedicated to felines, which is shown by the cat shaped buildings and cat memorials on the island.

How Did This Remarkable Island Come About?

In the early 1900s, silkworm farmers mostly inhabited the island. Unfortunately, because these silkworm farms were so delicate, pests and rodents began to threaten the silkworms. The farmers decided to bring in cats to control these pests, which is when the cats began to play an important role on the island.

Cats have been residents on the island since this time, and as the feline population has risen, the human population has dramatically declined. The 1950s was the peak of growth for the human population at about 1,000 residents, which was mainly due to the island's growing fishing industry. Today the population of people on Cat Island is just below 100 people, with all but one person being over the age of 65.

Visiting the Island

Visitors to Cat Island must take a 40-minute ferry ride from Ishinomaki, Japan, because there are no roads or airports that go to Cat Island. If you are visiting the island and would like to stay overnight, you have the option to stay in one of several cat shaped hostels, which were built by the residents of the island to accommodate travellers.

Travellers who are interested in exploring the island will not be disappointed. Along with the hundreds of friendly felines on the island, there are historical and unique places to explore too. Visitors will find a large shrine with all types of cat shaped offerings to honour the cats. The legend behind the shrine is that it was built by a fisherman who accidentally dropped rocks on a feline who was below him while he was fishing on a dock. The fisherman felt terrible about harming the cat so he buried the feline and created a cat memorial where the shrine currently stands. Not only can travellers to the island view the shrine, but they can add to it by bringing their own cat shaped offerings to the island.

If you are a cat enthusiast travelling in Japan, be sure to visit Cat Island, one of the most unique places in the world.

Niki Rebin, along with her parents Norm and Delva have helped over 3,000 stray and feral cats through their non-profit cat sanctuary Paws On Your Heart. Having worked with cats for over 70 years, the Rebin family is often asked: "Why do cats do such strange things?" To find out what makes cats such unique animals, download our FREE e-book "95 Fun and Fabulous Feline Facts" here:

Source: EzineArticles
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