Yanaka: Where the Kittyfolk Roam

This article describes a part of Tokyo where cats seem to rule.

Yanaka, a shitamachi (old downtown) area that retains the atmosphere of the Edo Period (1603-1867), is known for its cats.

As the sun sets in the west, cats seem to materialize from nowhere and gather around (1) Yuyake Dandan steps, which descend from near JR Nippori Station to the Yanaka Ginza shopping street.

In nearby alleys, even more cats roam around. The area also boasts quite a few places related to cats and shops that have adopted cat motifs. This is a place where cats and people live together. Welcome to the “town of cats.”

>>Read the rest of the article: Weekend Beat: Fans of felines find Tokyo’s Yanaka area the purr-fect place to visit

It would be interesting to find out if the cats in the area are being cared for properly. David, from Japan Cat Network voiced his concern when he read this article:

It may be cute and all that but sounds more like loads of cats running around reproducing out of control and not really looked after. Not spayed or neutered, not vaccinated, not de-wormed. No reasonable diet, no shelter from the elements. Since Japan is a country where un-neuterd cats are quite likely to encounter FIV-AIDS, then that is another concern. I’d feel quite a bit different if there was a group there making sure a humane situation existed for the animals but since it is not mentioned in the article, and such groups are so rare anyways, I would assume most of these cats are on their own. Come spring they must have a real explosion of kittens born, likely to die right out there on the street.

This is indeed a concern. I wonder if someone who has visited the area or who lives around there might be able to give us some insight. Are these cats being taken care of, or are they just left to fend for themselves and reproduce wildly? Are the people in the area aware of the dangers of FIV-AIDS? Does the neighbourhood collect money to spend on the medical needs of the cats? Please report in the comments if you have any information on this topic.

Also, it would be nice to know that the cats who are “working” at the cafes and other establishments are being treated well. Has anyone been to one of the cafes? Some cats can’t get enough attention, so this kind of arrangement might seem like heaven to them, but other cats prefer to be left on their own. Is it clear that the cats in the cafes are happy?


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