This green-eyed alley cat lives in a small park area in 初台 (Hatsudai, Shinjuku-ku). Like other cats in this area he was not immediately frightened by passers-by, but still was a bit turned off by being photographed. Maybe that’s why the cat is poking out her tongue here.
Walk with open eyes through Tokyo and you will discover that there are many cats here. Few of them have a home, but most are just living on the streets. Of these unlucky creatures many are very shy, probably due to unpleasant actions by humans in their past. They will run away if you approach them and one can only hope that they will have a somewhat undisturbed, healthy and long life.
However, some cats are used to humans and will let you near them if you act non-threatening. While most of them have no real home due to the pet restrictions in many Tokyo apartments, they are fed by friendly residents of their neighborhood. Unfortunately, this means although they might not starve, their medical situation is less bright, because no one really feels responsible for them as they have no actual owner (and who wants to pay costly vet bills for a “stray” animal…?). This means that these cats are neither neutered nor vaccinated and no one will give them medical aid when they are ill.
And this results in the unfortunate fact that many street cats are indeed sick and suffering and no one appears to give a damn. They are “just cats” and many regular shelters and animal control will destroy them. So what can you do?
There are a few organizations that care for the stray and abandoned cat population. Japan Cat Network is one of them. They have plenty of information on their website about what you can do if you find a cat or kittens (including how to make a cheap makeshift cat carrier).
Another animal rescue NPO is ARK Tokyo. They too will help you rescueing strays, but their main center of operation is the Kansai area, although they are in the process of setting up a shelter in Tokyo. Like Japan Cat Network they are also an excellent source if you want to adopt a pet.
Finally, there are two Japanese shelters that can help you if you if you speak Japanese: Yamaneko-an and Help Tokyo Kitty.
Get in touch with any of these organizations if you want to improve the life of abandoned cats. And helping doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have to adopt a cat for life — just taking in a sick cat for a few days and giving it medicine and helping the convalescence will make a big difference for this one lucky feline!
While I was looking for a certain Indian restaurant I came across this beautiful gray cat. Its name is Mi-chan (ミーちゃん) and it belongs to a small grocery store off Center Gai. Mi-chan was quite friendly and self-conscious, loving to be petted.
On the weekends Yoyogi is the place to go if you want to walk or check out weird pets. All kinds of dogs can be seen, but often people show up with more exotic animals. For example, a young man was walking his pet lizard in the park and constantly passers-by would stop and gaze at the reptile. I took a couple of shots, too.
The Japanese really love to dress up their dogs! This Shibuya toy poodle wears a blue jeans skirt and a colorful shirt under a turquoise jacket. Of course its coat is clipped and there might even be a hint of ginger hair dye present. These canines are status symbols here, after all.
This unfortunate dog was tied to a post opposite of a supermarket in Shimo-Kitazawa. He was missing his owner and howling all the time while no one was paying attention to him. Note that pretty much no Japanese dog owner would let his dog go out naked, this fair-furred Akita Inu was wearing a blue vest.
The Japanese really are crazy for pets. For many a cat or a dog not only seems to be some kind of status symbol, but also a substitute for a kid. So it is no surprise to see how pamered pets are in public. This Japanese Akita Inu dog is apparently enjoying the ride in his stroller, but wouldn’t walking the dog be more sensible…?
At night toads are a not-that-uncommon sight on the streets of residential Tokyo. And these critters can grow pretty big, although the one shown here is not one of the big ones. As I am not an amphibiologist I cannot say for sure which species this is, perhaps an Australian cane toad? After I took this picture I moved it from the street to a nearby front yard, so it would not be run over by a car.
This beautiful cat was met in 初台 (Hatsudai, Shinjuku-ku). He might look a bit wary on this photo, but this tomcat was actually quite friendly and not shy at all. While most street cats are rather scared and will not let you near them, this kittie enjoyed being petted. I just hope he has a long, healthy life!