Aoshima (青島, Aoshima), also known as Cat Island (猫の島, Neko no shima), is an island in Ehime Prefecture, Japan, known for its large number of feline residents. Felines have been reported by news outlets to outnumber humans by ratios between 6:1 and 10:1, but in recent years as elderly inhabitants of the island have died, it has skyrocketed to nearly 36:1.[note 1] They were introduced to combat rodents on fishing boats, but remained on the island and reproduced in large numbers.
|Native name: |
Aoshima in 1981
|Location||Seto Inland Sea|
|Area||0.49 km2 (0.19 sq mi)|
|Coastline||4.2 km (2.61 mi)|
|Highest elevation||90.8 m (297.9 ft)|
In 1945, the island was a fishing village with a population of approximately 900. In 2013, the island was estimated to be home to 50 residents. In 2018, Ehime Shimbun reported that the population had decreased to 13 with an average age of "over 75". In 2019, Asahi Shimbun Globe reported that only 6 residents remained on the island. The island attracts tourists who visit the cats and give them food.
In February 2018, it was reported by Ehime Shimbun that all cats on the island would be spayed or neutered in order to lower the feline population as a response to the declining human population. By October, 210 cats had been spayed and neutered, with another estimated 10 cats uncaptured that had been hidden by a resident who opposed the program.
- Shiho (June 23, 2019). "世界中から人が集まる瀬戸内海のネコ天国「青島」で過ごす濃密な８時間" [Spending a dense 8 hours on cat heaven "Aoshima" in the Seto Inland Sea that people from all over the world come to visit] (in Japanese). Asahi Shimbun Globe. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
- Meyers, Chris (March 2, 2015). "It's raining cats and tourists on a Japanese island". Reuters. Retrieved 2019-01-03.
- Nakai, Yuuto (February 21, 2018). "ネコが多い「青島」全匹に不妊・去勢手術" [Cat Island Aoshima to Spay and Neuter All Cats] (in Japanese). Ehime Shimbun. Retrieved 2018-02-21.
- Setouchi, Minami (February 22, 2019). "愛媛県・青島「猫の楽園」の未来 昨年の不妊・去勢手術後もトラブルがたえず…" [The future of "Cat Paradise" Aoshima, Ehime: Neverending problems after last year's spaying and neutering surgeries] (in Japanese). AERA dot. Retrieved 2019-10-12.
- Kirkpatrick, Nick (March 3, 2015). "Cats outnumber people on this mysterious 'Cat Island'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-03-03.
- Taylor, Alan (March 3, 2015). "A Visit to Aoshima, a Japanese 'Cat Island'". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2015-03-03.
- "Aoshima (Cat Island) – Ehime Travel Guide | Planetyze". Planetyze. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
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