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