The Tohoku disaster of March, 2011 continues to impact the daily lives of the people of the region even to this day. We have no doubt that its effects will linger in Japan for decades to come.
On Friday, one elderly couple in Ofunato City, Iwate Prefecture was reunited with the beloved cat they’d lost in the 3/11 disaster — just over three years since the adorable feline went missing and was presumed dead.
Just in time for Mother’s Day, Takeo and Kazuko Yamagishi were delighted by the safe return of their beloved cat, Suika, who had gone missed over three years ago on the day of the 2011 Tohoku Disaster.
The elderly couple, both of whom are in their 60s, had long ago given up hope of being reunited with their pet after it disappeared. Fortunately, at least in this case, it turns out that life is more like a Disney movie than we ever realized.
Though the Yamagishis’ house was not damaged by the tsunami that devastated so much of the Japanese coastline, the day’s events were apparently enough to terrify the poor creature. The couple had been out at the time the disaster struck, and, sadly, had come home to find their pet gone. By the summer of 2011, they decided that Suika was probably lost forever and took down the house Takeo built for the animal.
However, the cat was discovered in forest in Rikuzentaka City about 15 kilometers from the Yamagishi’s home and delivered to an animal shelter in Ofunato City on April 10. Since the cat was friendly with people and was wearing a collar, workers decided that it must have owners and waited for them to turn up, not realizing the Suika had been missing for over three years.
After a month of waiting, they decided to take photos of the cat to put in the local newspaper. It was only then that they noticed the name “Yamagishi” and a phone number, now barely perceivable, written in ink on the cat’s collar, and were able to find the cat’s owners.
This is actually the second time poor Suika has been rescued. It seems that the cat had originally come into the care of the Yamagishi family 15 years ago when their eldest son found it in Ofunato City and brought it home. With both of their children grown and out of the home, Suika become the perfect pet for the empty nesters’ affection, and Takeo put his weekend carpentry skills to work building a bed, complete with a parasol to provide shade, for the cat in their garden.
In the time since Suika was missing, it seems as if the cat has had a number of adventures, though we’ll probably never know the details. However, Kazuko noted that there were new bells on Suika’s collar, though it’s not clearly who attached them or when. Though there may be another explanation: Maybe Suika had turned to piracy to survive and the bells were merely mementos of his life on the high seas. Well, maybe.
Asahi Shimbun also has a video of Kazuko embracing Suika for the first time in three years. It’s as adorable as you can probably imagine.
Well, regardless of the details, we’re just happy to see the cat reunited with his humans.
Sources: Mainichi, Asahi Shimbun
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