In Japan, New Year is the biggest and most important seasonal event. It’s often taken as a time to chill out with family, but before that there’s plenty of work to be done. There’s the traditional thorough cleaning of the household called ‘o-soji’, and loads of special food to be prepared.

It’s not just households either, shrines and temples have to be made fit for the crowds coming to take part in ‘hatsumode’ on New Year’s Day, the first praying session of the year.

One photo caught at one of these places of worship by a Japanese photographer shows that even cats are getting in on the act. This well-timed shot shows a black cat looking like he’s fixing the ‘shimenawa’, a rope which cordons off consecrated areas of a Shinto shrine.

Source: @okirakuoki

Of course, cats don’t actually contribute to shrine maintenance as far as we know, aside from maybe rodent control, but this compelling image garnered over 14 thousand likes and plenty of admirers on Twitter.

This humorous picture reminded many people of the Japanese saying, ‘to want even the cat’s help’, an expression that means one is exceptionally busy. Others pointed out that this small wayside shrine just happens to be exactly the right size for a cat.

If you love cat photos then it could be worth giving the photographer a follow as he specialises in cat photography. Check out his Twitter here!

By - grape Japan editorial staff.