The Animals I

As everybody must have noticed, I'm a big fan of cats! I'm also a fan of animals and animal welfare in particular, but I think I relate most to cats and am best with cats. So what else would I do in Japan but go to a cat island?

This fellow lived at the ferry waiting room. Here you can see him observing me while I eat sushi. Some pieces I may have accidentally dropped on the floor.
I found a guided tour to Ainoshima, a cat island near Fukuoka, so me and Charlotte booked the tour to see the cats. After about 5 suffocating hot days, we got as many days of rain pouring down so the day wasn't the best possible for an island trip but we didn't really have any other choice. So we dealt with it. See how zen I'm becoming? I'm fine with all kinds of unfortunate things! In the beginning of my residency I was writing about how the Japanese are fine with constant rain and getting always wet and how I hate it. I still hate it, but there's nothing I can do about it, so I've realized I might as well not put any brain power into that. I have enough to stress about leaving, getting to the airport and trying to fit everything into my bags (not gonna happen) so maybe I'll not stress about the weather so much.
This beauty demanded our attention and our snacks right away.
We took a bus to Fukuoka and went to our meeting point, which happened to be a super posh hotel. And when I say posh, I mean Queen of England posh. We were in our outdoor wear, sort of dripping wet and I don't think I've ever felt so out of place anywhere. I was afraid to step on their carpet with my dirty layman shoes. They actually had guys at the door in fancy suits and a tophat! A tophat! And you know how you can tell you've entered a really fancy hotel? When they don't even look at you funny even if it's obvious you don't belong there. When the staff is polite to everybody who steps in, no matter what they look like, that's real class.
And I really mean demanded.
Then we found our guide and boarded the little bus they had. They took us to the coast, where we took a nice little ferry to the island. The ferry trip would have probably been nicer with sunny weather but - everybody with me now - what can you do about it? Nothing! The ferry puddled along with this really peaceful rhythm and I dozed off, dreaming of jellyfish and rain drops. Despite being stung by jellyfish, I still would like to see more of them. I think I saw a few floating near the ferry but they're slippery, see-through buggers and hard to spot.
This baby was waiting for food nobody was supposed to bring to the island cats. Needless to say, we all did bring snacks.
Then we arrived to the cat island. I have to say, the cat island was a bit of an odd experience. I guess I had somehow thought the island would be one big soft couch where the cats could cuddle and laze around and be worshiped by the people visiting. It's not. It's an island where there are a lot of wildcats and a lot of them are hungry kittens. I really didn't think it through, I have to say. Visiting the island actually made me feel quite sad and helpless. I didn't want to feel like that; it was one of my last days and I wanted to enjoy hanging out with Charlotte before I left, I really didn't want to make her sad, but it was a difficult time for me.
Just look at this gorgeous baby.
Just look! Are you looking?
Look harder!
What a pretty baby!
I wish I could be zen about this, but I can't, not entirely. I'm sure the cats survive the way they do and they've never been anybody's pets, they won't miss it. In fact, maybe cats don't even want to be pets, who knows? Maybe they'd rather live in the wild, even if it means that they get less food and have to live outdoors. I'm aware cats are animals and if they live in the wild, they are wild animals and a certain kind of balance forms and yes, that includes kittens dying. But I still wish people wouldn't let animals run wild in a place where it's not natural to them, or let them breed when the ecosystem can't support it.
Also, if all you've ever seen are neutered male cats...
... You might be a bit shocked at the island when you see the size of their... apples. Quite big, are cat apples.
When I was at a market, last weekend, I saw a disabled woman pushing a trolley full of cats. Some were kittens, some were adults. They were tethered to the trolley by their collars, they had a dirty, smelly litterbox and some catfood. The woman was pushing them in the middle of the crowd. paddling for money I guess. The cats were really distressed, meowing and climbing over each other. I wanted to hit that woman. By God I wish I could have tethered her to the trolley and given her a good kicking, no matter what her story is. I just felt so sick and so sad.

Whatever issues we have in Finland, that would not happen here. I could have called the cops or the animal service and they would have come and helped those animals. I suppose the woman also needed help but I just felt so furious and so helpless, so it was really hard to feel sympathy for her. I know there are many wrongs in the world. Many I probably contribute to, I am aware. I can't save everyone or put my time and resources into everything and I'm not going to pretend I'm some social justice saint. But this is something I really wish I could change. They're innocent animals. If they're at your mercy, you better fucking treat them like kings. They can't stand up to themselves, they can't speak for themselves, so if you're in a position where they're your responsibility, you better bear that responsibility and do it well.

So to all of you cats out there, I wish you a good night and the best possible life. I wish I could hug all of you!
I want to hug all the cats!


0 kommenttia