The Yanaka Situation

Regarding the Asahi Shinbum article about stray cats in the Yanaka area of Tokyo:

I believe it is wise to scrutinize these kind of stories a little heavier than the media would tend to.

There is a sociological term called “broken window syndrome” which states that “if disorder goes unchecked, a vicious cycle begins.”

If an area becomes known as a place where there are free-roaming cats, it will become known as a place to throw away cats. And with about 80% of the cats and dogs being killed by the authorities (Hokensho in Japan) actually being puppies and kittens surrendered by owners and irritated neighbors, that makes a lot of cats ready to be thrown away every day.

Among the top 10 most influential animal experiences I have had in Japan, (sometime ask me for the full list of ten) was encountering a woman in my town stuffing live kittens into a plastic bag in preparation for throwing into the river. According to her, this was a yearly neighborhood occurance, and sure enough when I first saw her, there were 2 other neighbors helping with the roundup. Local stray cats would have kittens in her shed and that was their way of keeping the issue at bay.

In any place where many cats are running around, allowed to breed unfettered, for the pleasure of some – there are also people tearing out their hair because of the bother, nuisance, smell, noise, food stealing behavior, or ghastly sight of the sick and dying. And a neighbor, or neighbors, may start to take the situation into hand.

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