Aoshima, The Cat Island, is a small island, Ehime Prefecture, is unpretentious island in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan. “Cat Island,” as the locals call it, small places where there are significantly more feline residents than people and inhabited by 15 people and hundreds of cats. However, the 0.5 km² island does have one unique claim to fame–it’s known as a paradise for cats and cat lovers.
Image credit NITRONAT [REUTERS]
The island wasn’t always so deserted, nor was it known as being a “cat paradise.” Inhabitants of what is now Hyogo Prefecture first migrated to Aoshima approximately 380 years ago to fish the enormous numbers of sardines in the surrounding waters. Cats were initially introduced to the island to stop mice from chewing through fishing nets. The island experienced a peak population of 798 in 1955, but the number of people dwindled just as the population of cats multiplied.
Image credit noriaki maeda