OGAKI, GIFU PREF. – A Japanese civic group teamed up with a railway operator on Sunday to let some 30 cats wander around on a local train at an event, hoping it will raise awareness of the culling of stray cats.
Passengers on a local train in Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture, were greeted by meowing companions on the moving train, where some passengers mingled with the felines while others enjoyed lunch.
“I think it’s great more people are aware about stray kittens through events like this,” said Mikiko Hayashi, a passenger from western Japan, who owns two cats that were strays. The event was hosted by Yoro Railway Co. Ltd. and a non-governmental organization called Kitten Cafe Sanctuary.
The number of cats in Japan admitted to shelters has dropped by around 70 percent to 72,624 in 2016 from 237,246 in 2004. That has reduced the number of cats culled from 238,929 in 2004 to 45,574 in 2016.
The cat population in Japan is around 9.8 million.