By Japan Info

You may have heard of Aoshima, the famous "Cat Island" located in Ehime Prefecture where cats outnumber humans six to one. However, there is another smaller "Cat Island" called Umashima near the Kokura port in Kitakyushu's Kokurakita Ward in Western Japan.

Umashima is home to some 90 cats. Or rather, it was home to 90 cats. Due to a tragic turn of events, the feline denizens of Umashima now sadly number only 30, and foul play is suspected.

The Crime


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藤井 克浩さん(@katu_fj)がシェアした投稿 -

According to a report in The Mainichi, eyewitnesses mentioned strange-looking food left around the island. Last month, a cut of fish was found with streaks of a blue substance that is thought to be a pharmaceutical product. This wasn't the first time either. Similar cases were also reported in October 2018 and May 2019.

After a resident contacted Masami Takeshita of the Taisetsuna Nekotachi (precious cats) Project, an investigation was conducted with help from a nonprofit agency from Fukuoka that aims to stop animal cruelty. Based on the evidence they collected, Takeshita plans on filing a criminal complaint.

In recent years, residents witnessed once healthy cats foaming at the mouth and collapsing as they watched, and groups of cats looking lifeless and dying. Umashima's 30 residents were outraged when they realized what was happening to the cats.

Earlier Prevention

In 2014, the Dōbutsu Kikin foundation neutered 79 of the 90 cats after residents, irked by the smell of feces and other cat-related problems, suggested restrictions on the population.

However, the sudden decrease in the feline population and the horrible manner in which they have been dying suggests that someone has been poisoning the cats.


While it is not as well-known as Aoshima, Umashima is still popular with tourists who enjoy visiting this picturesque island to see and feed the cats. Sadly, with only 30 cats alive where 90 once roamed, there are fewer of the furry denizens to greet visitors.

Since Kitakyushu is only about an hour by train from Fukuoka, tourists sometimes stop by and visit Umashima and its cats as a side destination when they travel to the area. It may be a bit off the beaten track, but the small island’s charm and its feline population makes it worthwhile.

Takeshita is considering evacuating the 30 cats to protect them from further harm. For the time being, however, they are still there, and now may be a great time to visit Umashima to show your support.

Source: Japan Info

By - Ben K.