Aoshima Island in Ozu, Ehime Prefecture is called the “Island of Cats” because the number of cats living on the island is five times more than the human population. Only 15 people are living there, sharing their land with more than a hundred cats.
While there are a dozen ‘cat islands’ in Japan, Aoshima is the most popular because of the attention it’s been getting from the internet, after one sunny day, tourists visited the islands and more than a dozen of cats who were lounging behind and on top of walls there approached the people for food, and tourists began snapping pictures away, which were then posted on the internet. The Ozu City government has not stopped receiving calls and inquiries to visit the island from tourists since then. A ferry captain, Nobuyuki Ninomiya, remarked that, “I seldom carried tourists before, bot now I carry tourists every week, even though the only thing we have to offer is cats.”
Islanders said that the number of cats began to increase when about a decade ago, the human population decreased and the cats continue to breed unchecked, and with the number of abandoned houses in the village, the cats found safe and comfortable places to live in. No resorts, no accommodations, but only cats and the people who reside there, and yet the tourists continue to visit just to have the pleasure of seeing and feeding the felines.
Other “Cat Islands” exist in and outside of Japan, like Tashirojima, which has a population of 86 people and around 100 cats, and is called “Cat Heaven Island.” Cats were initially brought to this island to keep mice away, which attack silkworm farms, but when the industry left the island along with the human population, the cats remained and increased. Another island, “Malta,” has 800,000 cats, double the number of the actual human population residing there. No dogs live or dare live on these ‘cat islands.’
[via Opposing Views]