We initially heard of Japan’s first train station-master cat, but it seems the job market for felines is expanding, as now Kyoto employs the nation’s first police cat. Say hello to Iemon (pronounced “ee-eh-mon”), an abandoned stray who was found at only two weeks old, and shortly after unofficially joined the force.
He spends most of his days on top the service counter, serving to provide a friendlier, more welcoming image to the Yoro Police Station. Roughly 30% of the households in the city are elderly residents over the age of 65, so this means there’s very little opportunity for Iemon to participate in stakeouts or high-speed car chases. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have his own work to do. Usually the cat accompanies a sergeant when he gives presentations to the locals about watching out for phone scams, which heavily target Japan’s elderly generations. The police warn the people to watch out for calls where the person on the other line gives vague statements, like “it’s me, I’m in trouble!” followed by “please send money,” but the locals say it’s comforting to see Iemon and he helps keep them at ease when listening to officer’s warnings.
It’s pretty clear that the cat is more useful as the police mascot, rather than a crime-fighter. However, he certainly looks the part, with his custom-made uniform and hat, topped with his cute paw-print badge. While he may not carry handcuffs to deal with troublemakers, he hasn’t been de-clawed either.