One day during our recent trip to Japan, my daughter and I rode the train to Okinashima Station in Fukushima. Then we began walking past tended fields and open spaces, under what seemed an enormous, infinite sky.
On the ground were scattered seed pods and leaves, and nearby grew autumn blooms and some daikon poking out of the dirt. We stopped in surprise when we saw a sign warning us about bears. A car sped by and the wind kicked up, but mostly it was quiet.
We appeared to have covered some distance. Looking ahead, I noticed an old house and wondered aloud, "Is that the place?" I was joking, but turns out it actually was our destination: The Japan Cat Network.
Every month I make a donation to The Japan Cat Network, a pet rescue organization. When we decided to come to Fukushima I was able to come for a visit, and we were greeted warmly by the staff of volunteers. They graciously invited us inside and took us on a tour. We went upstairs where the cats inhabit three bedrooms.
The cats are divided by temperament and special needs. Each bedroom has a twin-size bed with a sheet draped over it in a way for the cats to have a quiet, dark place to hide. There are open cages, wooden cubbyholes, raised cat walkways, toys, food, and catboxes for each group of felines. The windows have been built onto and screened so the cats get to enjoy "the outdoors" in safety. We were thrilled to pet the cats and spend time with them.
It was readily apparent that the volunteers are fond of their charges - there is no question that all the cats are loved and cared for. Even if a cat is not adopted, I imagine she would live a happy life in the shelter. And one more thing - I had packed a special bag for the cats when I left the States. I brought blanket fabric, a can opener (a cat's best friend if ever there was one), Dawn dish washing soap (per request), two big bags of cat treats, and a grommet tool set (to make cat hammocks, I was told!) I was happy to help, and I was relieved to walk unencumbered on the way back to the station.
Japan Cat Network
3285-1 Osada, Notsukekami
Tel: 0242 23 9339
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