Japan has 11 "cat islands"- small islands scattered around the Japanese archipelago with small human populations but sometimes hundreds of free-roaming cats. Many of their ancestors were brought by sailors in hopes that they would control the rodents that once ran wild. Years later, it's now the cats that run these small specks of land.
For a cat lover, these Islands might sound like paradise. But behind the cheerful pictures of calicos and tabbies running free lies a sinister story.
While most people would give anything to visit one of these islets, one person seems to not be so fond of his feline neighbors.
In 2014, Umashima, one of the famous islands, had a humble population of humans but a buzzing population of nearly 100 cats. This year, only 30 have been counted.
Five years ago, some 79 of the free-roaming cats were spayed or neutered as part of an effort to humanely control the population. But a decline by more than 2/3rds in half a decade cannot be contributed to spay and neuter program's success. Instead, cats have been seen fumbling, lurching in pain and even dead. For years the mystery went unsolved but now, animal rights activists believe they have found the culprit. A man has been caught lacing fish with agricultural chemicals.
The farmers say he did so to stop cows from eating his potato crops, but that excuse doesn't stand up to scrutiny. First, there are few to no cows on the island and secondly, why would agricultural product tainted fish discourage a cow from eating potato plants in the first place. The farmer clearly meant to harm and kill Umashima's cats and he must be held responsible for the innumerable animal deaths. Please sign the petition and demand that Kitakyushu Police to prosecute the farmer and ensure that he faces animal cruelty charges for murdering Umashima's cats.