Japan Today

Decline in number of felines on ‘Cat Island’ may be due to poisoning


A large number of felines has been mysteriously reported dead on a remote island near Kitakyushu, that is nicknamed “Cat Island,” for its large population of stray cats. While the cause of death is unknown, eyewitness accounts have testified seeing suspicious-looking cuts of fish that may have been poison bait.

Located approximately 10 kilometers from Kitakyushu City, Umashima has gained popularity as a tourist spot known for its idyllic scenery where the feline population roams freely. This small, remote island has about 30 residents. Around 90 cats were there five years ago.

The stray cats, which appear accustomed to human contact, used to be a common sight lined up along a road on the island. Although the continually expanding feline population posed a problem for residents, a citizens’ group from Fukuoka City proposed sterilizing the animals. Of the 90 cats confirmed on the island in 2014, 79 felines—excluding old ones—were spayed.

However, a huge decrease has recently been reported in the cat population which currently stands at around 30, Fuji TV reported.

According to an organization that carries out surveys on the cats, one probable cause behind the mysterious deaths is poison. In May, a witness recounted seeing cuts of fish with a blue-colored substance placed around several locations on the island, such as in the fields and in front of the fishermen’s cooperative office.

The Fukuoka-based citizens’ group is considering to file a criminal complaint based on the alleged violation of the Animal Welfare Act given the abnormal decline in the number of cats and evidence of the poison-laced food.

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Uh...chemical analysis of the bait and necoprosies of the cats could shed light on the cause. Chemicals used would be helpful in finding the culprit.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

What will the island be called if all the cats disappear?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Saw the TV news today and an old geezer said that he put pesticide in pieces of fish to kill off the crows that were being a pest to his garden/crops. Right. For an island that is known for its cats, you'd think this guy would have known that the cats would eat the fish. Sounds like he's just making up the story about the crows. Sorry, but it sounds fishy to me. I hope they do file criminal charges on this guy.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

What will the island be called if all the cats disappear?

Rat Island?

9 ( +10 / -1 )


thanks for the info, but there would still be the question for people like me who don't know it if even if he really "only" wanted to get the crows ... is it allowed in Japan to kill crows just like that ?

I guess withouth a proper licence in europe it would not be allowed.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Generally illegal to deliberately kill anything in Japan without a license. (Insects and Fish like things excluded)

re Crows. Like almost all birds in Japan killing them by any means is illegal.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Cats are decimating the wildlife population -- especially birds, they should all be spayed.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Cats are decimating the wildlife population 

Interesting claim. Where is your source,and evidence?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"Cats are decimating the wildlife population"

No; humans are.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Seems some here never went to school? Never heard that "cats eat birds." Need proof?

The humans are not helping, for sure. Imagine, humans with all those cats...not helping at all.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I hope they find the cruel monster behind the poisoning and throw away the key.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Seems some here never went to school?Never heard that "cats eat birds." Need proof?

I have learnt not to draw lines where none exists.

"Cats eat birds" does not have the same meaning as "cats are decimating the wildlife population".

Let's try another one.

a) "People eat apples."

b) "People are eating up so many apples that the world is running out of apples."

See? Not the same thing.

I hope that helps. :)

Murdering wildlife is definitely illegal. Not just the cats, but the crows, the other birds, the badgers, so many other small and larger creatures, will have been affected by this release of poison into their food chain. The effects are long-lasting. I hope the people who did this are caught, arrested, prosecuted, and punished.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Love cats, but this island sounds like a toxic dump.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Essentially, all of the cats in Japan are foreign invasive species and, yes, domestic cats do decimate wildlife sadly very often just for sport, like humans.

There are two native species;  the leopard cat on Tsushima Island and the Iriomote cat on the island of Iriomote but they may only be 100 of the latter left.

Dare I say it, it's probably the Koreans' fault. (That is a joke but also a fact).

Initially, it was thought to be pretty much only the Bobtail cat. History records them as being housecats, buying or selling cats was illegal, but in 1602 Japanese authorities decreed that all cats should be set free to help deal with rodents threatening the nation's silkworm population and associated industry. Only since then they have spread and become feral.

Likely all the long tailed ones are later introductions as trade was opened up after Edo. Therefore a very recent species.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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