Resident Blog

Japan’s stray cats

Labeling a cat as “stray” has a negative meaning in western countries. When most non-japanese people think of a stray cat, the mental image isn’t a happy one. We imagine a hungry, sick and pitiful kitty that will most probably die soon if someone doesn’t save it. Most countries struggle to pick them up from the streets and if failing to find them a home, they are put to sleep. In short, a stray cat’s life is a picture of total bitterness. So I was a little surprised to see that stray cats in Japan don’t seem in desperate need of help at all.

I’ve seen stray cats literally everywhere in Tokyo, but they seem to concentrate around large green areas like parks. And even though a few seemed a little hungry and sick, most cats looked in perfect health condition - well fed, energetic and shiny fur. I dare say some of them look way better than my cat back home, which we take great care of.


Many of these cats don’t seem scared of humans at all, which is also something completely opposite to the western image of a stray cat. As far as I heard, they feed on mice and small birds, but people also feed them a lot. I also came to an interesting conclusion – I’m sure another reason for them coming close to humans is also linked to the fact that most Japanese people are docile and kind. Yes, bad people are everywhere in this world but let’s face it, you rarely run into bad individuals here compared to other countries. I’m absolutely sure that the Japanese are kinder to animals than many other nations.

It makes my day when I walk on the street, enclosed in my busy life and problems, then suddenly see a random kitty crossing the road. I always go “talk” to them and try to pet them, and sometimes they even climb on my lap!

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The place with the largest number of cats/area is Enoshima, a stunning island just outside of Kamakura (about 70 kilometers from Tokyo). The kitties here seem to be the friendliest - one even fell asleep on me once! An adorable sight, but turned out to be very problematic as it broke my heart to wake her up. I ended up staying there for a good 30 minutes until the kitty woke up by herself and calmly walked away without even looking behind (soulless, I know, but that’s how cats are and we love them!).

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I also heard about Aoshima, an island packed with so many cats you can barely walk around. Seems like heaven to me! Will definitely go there soon and make a blog post about it! In the meanwhile, I'll be busy petting every cat that shows up around Sanshu Corp Nezu where I live.

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My name is Cristina and I am cheerful and energetic girl from Romania, Europe.

I have been in love with Japan ever since I can remember. I first arrived here as a scared student on a rainy autumn day back in 2011. Six years later, I am happy to say that Japan isn't scary anymore and now I know Tokyo better than my hometown.

I have traveled all over Japan, from Fukuoka to Sapporo. I simply adore wandering around with my camera while capturing Japan's beauty.