Where Do Cats Outnumber Humans 6 to 1?

cats-outnumber-humans-6-1 Credit: AFP / Stringer/AFP / Stringer/Getty Images

Aoshima, Ehime is an island in Southern Japan where cats outnumber humans 6 to 1. It is known locally as Cat Island, though it is only one of about a dozen islands dominated by cats in Japan. The island has a human population of 22, and at least 120 cats.

Aoshima once boasted 900 residents in 1945, but the population dwindled as people sought work elsewhere after WWII. Cats were initially introduced to the island to deal with the mice that plagued fishing boats. But the cat population increased dramatically 10 years ago when the human population decreased even further and fewer people were around to spay and neuter the cats. There may be as few as 10 neutered cats on the island. Today Aoshima, Ehime simply remains a quiet little fishing village, albeit dominated by cats.

While there are neither restaurants, nor stores, nor cars on the mile-long island, tourists have started making the it a destination. News of Cat Island has spread because an island full of cats is the Internet’s idea of heaven. Today, a ferry comes from the mainland twice a day to bring around 35 people to ogle at and take pictures of the hoards of cats.