Tashirojima, otherwise known as Japan’s “Cat Island” due to its numerous feline inhabitants, is intact after the recent devastating 9-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami, according to Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support. However, like so many others devastated by the disaster, both the human and feline residents of the island need help.

(Image: Itshears)

The small island in Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, is home to at least 100, mostly elderly, people and many more cats, which are valued for their beauty, companionship, and ability to keep the rodent population down in this fishing area. A shrine dedicated to cats exists in the middle of the island — a favorite of tourists and feline lovers worldwide.

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You can see some of the residents and cats in the below footage, captured by Thai television reporters before the quake.

There was concern that the island and its residents did not survive the earthquake, aftershocks, and tsunami, but Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support posted this at Facebook yesterday:

Just to give everyone an update on Tashirojima, the cat island. The people and cats 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.

Teaming up with another organization, Animal Friends Niigata, workers with the Japanese rescue and support team are now in Sendai, near where the earthquake was centered.

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Here you can see them preparing for the trip, loading a van with kennels, food, leashes and capturing equipment.

(Credit for this and the next photo: Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support)

They reported encountering at least one woman, seen below, who refused to evacuate because officials would not let her bring her dog, Yosuke, with her. She stayed with Yosuke in her shaking house for three days, but thankfully both are OK. She was very relieved to encounter the rescuers.

I think many of us who love our pets can empathize with such individuals. This latest disaster is a reminder to be prepared for emergencies. If you have pets, please consider following the recommendations mentioned in this U.S. Department of Homeland Security brochure: Download Pets