Cat Island Status After Japan was Hit by Tsunami

cute kitties on cat island japan

Before tsunami



[Latest Update 4/27]: New photos and videos of Cat island after Japan earthquake.

[Update 3/23]: Japanese media reported that disaster relief has arrived in Tashirojima (Cat Island).

In the morning of March 22nd, ASDF helicopters landed on a remoteisland, Tashirojima, which air route, only way to access other places, was cut off after the earth quake. In Tashirojima, 80 % of the total population, 73 people, are older than 65 years. After about 1 week after the quake, emergency supplies started to arrive in the island. On 22nd, 800 kilo-litters of gasoline and kerosene, food for 100 meals were delivered along with satellite phones that will enable the residents to communicate with hospitals to ask help for acute sickness/injuries. SDF personnel says that relief teams are usually supposed to be able to reach all parts of affected area within acouple of days after disasters. Emergency materials finally started toget across affected areas. On Tashirojima island, younger residents of the island, although they are already in early 50s, carried and distributed the aid supplies with SDF. [Translated by JEARS. Original article]

[Update 3/22]:

Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support stated the following on their Facebook page:

“I just got through to a representative at an NPO called Hiyokkori Hyoutan Tashirojima on the land phone, and ‘everybody, humans and animals, is safe.’ He said that it is the areas in Ishinomaki that need more help now! Food, water, everything is sufficiently supplied. It is the electricity that is still needed on the island. The kitties are all safe. With the kind of purity and reverence the residents have for our beautiful feline friends, the cats are being well taken care of by these beautiful people. I am so happy! This is direct from someone on the island. Safety confirmed!” on the land phone, and ‘everybody, humans and animals, is safe.’ He said that it is the areas in Ishinomaki that need more help now! Food, water, everything is sufficiently supplied. It is the electricity that is still needed on the island. The kitties are all safe. With the kind of purity and reverence the residents have for our beautiful feline friends, the cats are being well taken care of by these beautiful people. I am so happy! This is direct from someone on the island. Safety confirmed!”

[update 3/14]: the cats and people are doing ok. Many shelters have started their relief effort in the hardest hit areas.

Sendai Television Inc. ( reported a message on their bulletin board regarding contact from Tashirojima (Cat Island). On March 14 approximately 2pm local time, two tourists from Aoba-ku, Sendai were confirmed safe in one of the shelters on Cat Island. Though the post was later removed from the bulletin, we were able to retrieve it through Google caching (screenshot).

Most of people and cats are doing ok on the island, but they are very short of necessities such as food and water. A Self-Defense Force helicopter has landed on Tashirojima (cat island) and rescue effort is underway.

“Just to give everyone an update on Tashirojima, cat island. The people and cats are safe but short of food. A volunteer looked into transporting food by boat, but the is too much debris in the water. A helicopter is the only way. The army will probably get a helicopter ready soon so we are looking into the possibility of asking them to take cat food too,” stated by Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support.

[update 3/13]: received a lead from a Tokyo resident who said his parents are located in Tashirojima. According to him, the ground moved approximately 30cm downward, but his parents are fine. He believes the cats should be ok. Though the information is still ambiguous, it has given many cat lovers a glimpse of hope.

We also recieved info regarding a neighboring island, Ajishima (網地島). A photo that seems to be taken after tsunami, emerged on twitpic. According to the caption, it was taken around 15:43 local time on March 11.

ajishima fishnet island 網地島 tsunami earthquake

"網地島から送られて来た写真です。Exifの情報を見たところ、3/11 15:43に撮影されたもののようです (The photo came from Ajishima. According to Exif information, it seems to be taken on 3 / 11 at 15:43)"

A local website, tv-asahi resported that 80 residents were found on Ajishima and the rescue efforts are ongoing.

Though nothing is 100% concrete, all these leads that are coming to light have given us more confidence to believe that we will see survivors from those islands. Cats are smart animals in an event of a natural diaster, we hope they somehow made it to safety.

Cat Island located in Tashirojima or Tashiro island (田代島) has not been reported on by news media after the 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit Japan on March 11, 2011. The island situated almost directly west of the epicenter of the quake was rumored to be completely submerged, but no concrete sources have been found. However, the waves of the tsunami were up to 10 meters high whereas there are a lot of higher regions on the island. There is a possibility that at least some residents and furry animals escaped the devastation.

Cat Island is famous for its penchant for cats. The island is covered with cats who are highly respected and revered. When the fishermen come back with fish, they always feed the cats first. All the cats there are sociable and friendly. They are well fed  and loved by every islander and tourists from all over Japan. Most of the residents are elderly people since the younger generations prefer a more urbanized lifestyle. The elderly have worried about the future of their cats if there will be enough people to take care of them after they pass.

We are sending our prayers to the people and furry creatures on Cat Island.

We will keep you all posted.

Here are updates on other kitty friends from Japan.

cute kitten cats on tashirojima japan cat island

Photo taken before tsunami

cute kitties in tashirojima japan cat island

photo taken before tsunami



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66 Responses to “Cat Island Status After Japan was Hit by Tsunami”

  1. ihavecat says:

    I hope they are okay!

  2. My prayers are extended to the people and cats of Tashiro Island….

  3. Lizzy says:

    Oh, how precious. What a special place! I do hope they made it to safety!

  4. ElizabethSP says:

    I'm eagerly awaiting good news about the cats and people on the island.

    Like you said, you will keep us posted!

  5. ElizabethSP says:

    Love the videos!

  6. Elma says:

    I prayed that they survived ! I hope they all manage .. I stand by with your update. Thanks for sharing this.

  7. Ingrid says:

    All my thoughts go to the people hit by the tsunami in Japan and especially those who are on this island and their cats. This is so awful :( Please keep us posted.

  8. Joanna says:

    Sooo cute! Hope they are all safe

  9. Jac5 says:

    I though of tashiro's elderly and cats the moment I knew of e epicentre. Frankly, I teared. It is so sad! The old folks were being so resilient and the cats are finally bring younger folks and tourism money and this has to happen.

    A cruel fate.

    I'm looking forward to reports on this island. At least the old folks should br accounted for.

  10. josephine skitt says:

    I never even knew this island existed – I pray that all the these good people & all the cats managed to get to higher ground & are all okay

  11. Paula says:

    News about Tashirojima – people and cats are said to be okay, but there was a lot of building damage and they need bare necessities and cat food…

    (I have some friends in Japan and also have a japanese blog/facebook kinda thingy where I managed to find a group/community devoted to tashirojima – in case you're wondering what my source of news is)

  12. TheBoysStaff says:

    Tweeted a few hours ago and replied to ask if Tashiro elders and cats were OK. This is the reply I received:

    Blog link:

    Translation: 2011/3/13 14:50 Update:

    In (網地島), she seems to have been started by the Air Self Defense Force rescue.

    Link: Miyagi earthquake rescue helicopter Islanders 80 – ANN News:

    Information is ambiguous, confirmed the information below.

    – Shima Tashiro islanders are safe. Approximately 30cm in subsidence. I think our cats okay, he says.

    (Mixi community and Shima Tashiro Twitter: Information from stakeholders Islanders Shima Tashiro in Tokyo)

    14 minutes ago · Like · 1 person

  13. TheBoysStaff says:

    網地島 translates to 'Fishnet Island'.

  14. Sam says:

    Oh goodness, we are cat people, and we live all the way in the Caribbean, we are already with Japan and when I heard about Tashirojima my heart stopped.

    My family and I are praying with everything we have to see they come out safely. And like you said the media is not giving any information about the island, you would think someone has gone to look for it and its residents by now!

    Please keep us posted that they all got away with their nine lives!

  15. Kai says:

    I just got to know that the cats and people on Tashirojima are fine! I'm really glad about that!

  16. Michelle Wilson says:

    I just read on Facebook (on the Cat Island page) that they are safe! Someone there has a friend in Japan who has been in touch with people there. Thank God!

  17. Paula says:

    I think it may be me that you mentioned. Just to clarify – he (the friend I talked to) has not been in touch with the people on the island directly, but managed to find out about them (probably from emergency phone number). I don't think there is a direct contact with the island as of yet, but he also said that he learned that a defense forces helicopter had landed there in the afternoon.

  18. Yew says:

    Thank goodness that they're safe and okay! I guess cats are really nice and sweet animals that are really blessed with nine lives.

    Hope to receive further updates of the cats and their human friends on the island!

  19. Chantal says:

    I hope those cats re okay!

  20. Liza says:

    For once this series of photos made me "teary eyed" please know that I hope that they are all right and thank you for making us aware of the cats and people of this island.

    Hope everyone and all cats will be ok.

  21. Mel Westlund-Upchurc says:

    Positive thoughts and prayers for the furred and human inhabitants of the island.

    Please Mother let them be ok.

  22. Emily says:

    Me and my friends is a cat people in China, we prayers all the cat and people that they’re safe and okay! We can not get any information about the island. hope they're really Okay!!!!

  23. Linda says:

    It is such a relief to finally be finding out some information. I accidentally learned of the existence of this island just the other day. I was trying to find out if Maru, the famous box jumping Japanese cat, had survived the tsunami. I discovered Cat Island, but when I looked at a map, my heart sank. Now there is some hope.Is there any way to donate cat food directly to the island?

  24. Marilyn says:

    Prayers that the cats and residents are well.

  25. Kacee says:

    Thanks for posting. I hope humans and furry ones are safe and sound. Love the videos.

  26. Katie says:

    Just watched the video,and hoping and praying everyone, the people and the cats are going to be ok. Thanks for keeping us posted, and continue your up dates when possible.

  27. MyKinKStar says:

    I am hopeful with this infomation, but still concerned as to why there has not been an actual news story about Cat Island . . .

  28. LeoMoon says:

    Was that a photo of a dead cat?

  29. Brigitte says:

    Every night I prey for Eldres and cats on Cats Island. This gives my hope a bit more, but I will not stop until I am sure all is fine. Thanks a lot for the news.

  30. Brigitte says:

    Every night I prey for the Elders and cats of Cats Island. These news give me hope but I won't stop praying until all is fine! Thanks for keeping us posted.

  31. Aymeric says:

    I might be wrong (but I hope I'm not) , but I think that there is hope for Tashiro-jima. Look, the terrible tsunami images we have all seen on TV are about areas which are at 1 or 2 meters elevation only. The island has no flat area of that kind, it just rises from the see like a small peak, so the water wouldn't have much place to go. There's just the main village which is at 10 to 20 meters elevation. Water might have flown in, but most probably nothing like what has been shown on tv. I hope I'm not wrong…

    Probably much more mainland cats, dogs and many many other animals than there are cats on the island have lost their lives int his tragedy, don't forget them, neither those humans they lived with.

  32. rose says:

    I really hope & pray they are all ok..

  33. parihan says:

    OMG im soo sad im scared for the innocent animals this is soo much horrible i hate this world its very hard for animals.

  34. Ashley says:

    Thank you so much for keeping us updated! I want to help the residents of Cat Island in any way I can. I haven't been able to stop thinking about them since I learned of the tsunami yesterday.

  35. Karen from U.S. says:

    I didn't know there was a Cat Island and I hope everyone is safe. Please keep us updated on the rescue efforts and how we can help our furry friends in Japan.

  36. Patricia Brown says:

    every body please send money to the red cross and help people, and to the Japanese SPCA to help the animals. It doesnt need to be much, just 5 dollars each from many people adds up without straining one's pocket. thats less than a fast food meal..

  37. Patricia Brown says:

    Im glad Maru and family are fine..the cats probably ran to the mountain area on the island before tsunami hit and were fine too.

  38. wombatarama says:

    This is an animal rescue group that a friend in Japan recommended, that has experience from the Kobe earthquake. You can donate via paypal (the paypal site will come up in Japanese but you can click for English.)

    • Linda says:

      I just made a donation to ARK. Red Cross doesn't let you specify animals. I had no trouble converting Ark's homepage into English, but when you go into Pay Pal, it's all in Japanese, including the drop down box you have to click to find the option to request English. The box is on the upper right side, with two blue squares of Japanese writing and a black triangle. Also, after you enter your amount, click the update button, or it won't accept it. Hope this helps–thanks!

      • Love Meow says:

        I have been trying to get ahold of people from ARK. Hope to hear from them soon. I did however get in touch with several other animal rescue groups in Japan and will report their stories as soon as I hear from them.

  39. Dean Neniska says:

    Cat island is one of the best places on earth. I wish I could go there to check on them and help. I am an owner/keeper of 12 cats and hope things will be ok on the island. When I go to japan one day I want to visit and help on the island. Maybe even live there. :)

  40. sea says:

    I hope that people and cats are fine in that island.

    What happened to Japan is too severe and I'm very very sad.

  41. Christine Aspinall says:

    Hope and pray that all the cats on Cat Island had the instinct to retreat to high ground and that they will be found to be safe. Bless the people who live there and look after these cats.

    This has been a tragedy of epic proportions and I sincerely hope that nothing else happens to complicate this already terrible disaster.

  42. Sharon says:

    Really hope everything is ok both for the residents and the furbabies

  43. Kai says:

    I am pretty sure that many cats on the mainland managed to flee in higher regions before the tsunami hit. Cats are pretty good in detecting danger way before humans do, so I guess most of them are doing okay. I am more concerned of the animals that are caged or have been locked into the houses when the tsunami hit :(

    If you want to donate and help you can also check this facebook community:!/home.php?sk=group_2048

  44. beckyl says:

    i am very worried for the cats on cat island. and thinking of all the pets that were in the homes that got washed away… it's an indescribable tragedy :-(

  45. meowmeowmans says:

    We are purring and praying for Tashirojima and all of the people and animals of Japan.

  46. Dianne says:

    Check out this picture of Tashiro Island taken in 2009. There are many more pictures on this site.

    The kitties are in high places!

  47. Khadijah Zulkifli says:

    yes, please please update this article .. thank you ..

  48. pandadd says:

    thank you for your good news about shironeko today.

  49. pumbie says:

    Oh, I want to live in a Cat Island!. Qué felicidad!.I I hope all the kitties

    are doing well after the disaster. Regards and good luck from Sapin.

  50. ran says:

    ooh poor cats

    plez god save the cats

  51. Joan S. says:

    i hear those folks need cat supplies, food, etc. How can we send money or food and know it will get there?

  52. Jane says:

    Stay safe my little fur-balls, may Saint Francis watch over you all…Where do we send money to help the cats?

  53. didie_nabz says:

    thank god the cat is safe..

    thruthfully i was sad over what has happen at Japan and i hope they they can recover soon..

    and other than human im worried over the animal too.. yet they just just helpless creature.. and if i got a chance to go to japan later, im so gonna visit cat island….glad cat is OK..

    kiss from didie…

  54. grace says:

    Hope they are all safe!

  55. Juju 28 says:

    We were visited the Tashirojima 3 weeks before Tsunami came. Now i'm still worry about the people and a cats in that Island. Hope everyone is fine.

  56. Chi says:

    Thank Goodness they're safe.

  57. Jennifer says:

    I hope all residents are okay. :(

  58. siru says:

    I hope everything is fine there & that they get food & other necessities! Please keep us updated. =^..^=

  59. catherineLd says:

    i am sending all my love and money to help japan. xox

  60. Iffat Ahmad says:

    Cat Island is such a magical & happy place, which I hope to visit one day. I am relieved & overjoyed to know that help has arrived. I know that there is still much work to do, but the fact that the cats & ppl are safe is most important. Such sweet & beautiful kitties. Thank you for the Cat Island update!

  61. The good news is that parcel delivery has been re-established by Yamato/Kuroneko (Black Cat, like the UPS of Japan) to the island . So they have posted a request list of what they need for 350 people and 100 cats (plus some dogs too). It is found at this url (in Japanese only):

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