It continues to be difficult to get information out of Tashirojima — Cat Island — in Japan. Although I don’t have any “official” reports from the mainstream press, we have been able to cobble together bits of anecdotal information from readers in touch with friends and relatives on the island.
Betty, a Cat’s Meow reader, posted this:
Yes, I can confirm this, my brothers wife is japanese and she knows a girl whose parents live in the Cat Island and they were able to get in touch with them. They said that the island sank around 30 centimeters in the water there was some damage to property, but cats and people are ok! They need help, of course, but the Island is still there.
I feel so happy, at least there is a drop of happiness in the tragedy.
A site for Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support was created on Facebook to raise funds to help animal victims and to deploy aid to stricken areas.
They posted this today:
“The people and cats (of Tashirojima [“Cat Island”]) are safe but short of food. A volunteer looked into transporting food by boat, but there 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.”
Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support has begun to mobilize:
This [photo above] is the start of our trip to get closer to the areas affected. We packed the van with supplies from Animal Friends Niigata (where any animals we find will be brought back to, given proper medical care). What you see is pet food, kennels, leashes and capturing equipment.
You can donate to Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support here. (Donation page is in Japanese, but it’s pretty easy to decipher it, and if you have Google Chrome, you can use the translate button.)
World Vets International is on their way to Japan. Here’s their update:
UPDATE 1:09PM (MARCH 13)
The common concern at the moment are the animals that are being left behind and/or missing. We are coordinating our efforts with a coalition of animal rescue groups in Japan that have united to address the animal victims of the disaster and its impact.The base of operations is being established in a safe location outside of the epicenter where animals will be temporarily sheltered and cared for. World Vets will have a first responder team there in a few short days to support and assist their efforts.
UPDATE 11:00AM (March 14)
Our first responder deployment is flying to the World Vets headquarters in Fargo, ND tonight for a debriefing and to pick up gear and veterinary supplies. They will then be on a flight to Japan early tomorrow morning to meet up with a coalition of Japanese animal welfare groups.
Veterinary supplies and/or medicines that are being requested from are the following: De-worming medicines, vaccinations, fluid replacements, wound treatments, and cages. Donations of these items can be shipped to: World Vets headquarters, 802 1st Ave N, Fargo ND 58102
I have not yet been able to find a group solely dedicated to helping Tashirojima’s Cat Island cats, but their plight is on the radar of these groups.
On a personal note, as I have expressed my concern over the Cat Island cats and other animal victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, people have responded (and I’m paraphrasing), “Forget the cats, what about the poor people?”
I have a great deal of compassion and empathy for the human victims, but for many of the survivors, when all is said and done the only thing they may have left is their four-legged family members. Animal rescue efforts are not limited to finding and feeding furry survivors, but also to get them out of the muck and to a safe area, then go about reuniting them with their owners. In many cases this may involve caring for them until their owners can be found, or until their owners have a new home.
I live a mile from a major earthquake fault. If I were separated from my feline family in an earthquake, I would be a basket case until I was reunited with my cats. Many families in Japan revere cats, and I’m sure they feel the same.
Animal welfare is shoved to the backburner during emergencies, and crazy cat advocates are needed to fund feline rescue ops.
- Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support FB page
- The Conscious Cat Blog
- World Vets International Japan Earthquake and Tsunami page
- World Vets International Facebook page