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Wakayama's famous stationmaster cat Tama dies at 16

28 Comments

Tama the cat, which became famous across Japan after becoming an honorary stationmaster at a train station in Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture, has died at the age of 16.

According to a spokesperson for Wakayama Electric Railway Co, Tama died on Monday night of acute heart failure, Fuji TV reported. The cat had also suffered from a nasal inflammation.

Tama had been cared for by owners of a convenience store located at Kishi Station. For the past eight years, tourists flocked from all over to catch a glimpse and a photograph of the unusual station attendant.

An official funeral will be held for the beloved feline on June 28.

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28 Comments
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RIP - An official funeral will be held for the beloved feline on June 28. ? State Funeral ?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No! It will be a company funeral.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There will be other cats clawing to train for this job.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Anything living dies, and while it's sad to see a beloved 'pet' go, I think it can be said this cat led a pretty charmed life given that it was initially a stray. I hope they don't make too much by way of a funeral (silly to have one at all), and it would be pretty pathetic if lots of people showed up and anyone cried, given that so many human beings in this nation and the world are not afforded the same dignity, graces, or honors.

-11 ( +4 / -13 )

RIP, little one.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I remember this story... RIP little kitty.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

silly to have one at all

No it isn't.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Was on CNN's homepage (international) earlier.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This will probably be made into a movie sooner or later. I don't know how any movie studio can pass up the pathos of a small train line in a scenic area virtually going out of business, only to be revived by creative ingenuity that has made the line one of the top tourist draws in Wakayama. In my few visits, I personally didn't find the cat as impressive as the related projects--rebuilding the terminal station to look like a cats head, with a decent coffee shop and gift shop; hiring a designer to brainstorm some over the top fantasies like the Omocha dencha full of toys, books, and unorthodox seating; and convincing trainloads of people to buy day passes to ride 40 minutes into rural farm country where there is almost nothing to do (except soak up the atmosphere) or buy (except for the Tama brand goods at the gift shop of course). This kind of story makes wild creative ideas seem possible.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Smith, so because some humans are left to rot, this cat should suffer the same fate? Come again? Weird logic. This cat gave joy to millions of people, we need and should and have to respect animals more than we do as we carry out the Sixth Great Extinction through our actions, perhaps making a connection to this cat will help some see that we need to look after and respect nature a lot more than we do.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Noo :( RIP Tama

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have gone to see Tama 3 times and every time he was asleep in a ball so never could get any decent pictures. Everyone I know who went experienced the same even when all of the Chinese, Korean and European tourists flock the station to see him everyday.

A few stations down, Ni-Tama has been working his way to the top I hear and will probably take over. Ni-Tama is younger and more lively I hear. Anyways that train line was on its last leg and the Tama gimmick brought them tons and tons of money which saved the train line. Whoever came up with the concept deserves to be the President of that company and a huge raise.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Do not despair, he will return as a Yokai ..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have gone to see Tama 3 times and every time he was asleep in a ball so never could get any decent pictures. Everyone I know who went experienced the same even when all of the Chinese, Korean and European tourists flock the station to see him everyday.

Yes! I have heard numerous complaints about this, too. But what do you expect from a cat, of course it's going to sleep all day.

BTW, a couple of my students were really distraught by the news. the others were like, meh.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I feel sorry for Tama's owners who probably loved the cat. When I visited Wakayama, Tama was at the veterinarian's office that morning and Ni Tama was on duty. My daughter says that means "New Tama." Ni Tama was a calm, light-colored, pretty, long-haired cat who gazed at all her admirers while the train employee let us take pictures. At the time Ni Tama was 4 years old, so maybe she is 6 now. The Tama Dynasty lives on!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Tessa: 'meh' or 'meow'?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Tama made the news in Canada too. The picture they have on there clearly shows a cat who had a deep soul. Who knows, maybe in a past life she did work or wanted to work at a rail station...

http://www.ctvnews.ca/lifestyle/japanese-tourist-magnet-stationmaster-tama-the-cat-dies-1.2439828

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A cute heart failure.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

My home town in England, Grantham, used to have a cat called Shag. Supposedly it sometimes got on the trains and was sometimes found at Kings Cross station in London (100 miles away) and sent back. It's grave can be seen at the station today.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Smith - I agree, many humans suffering needlessly in this world, many who are innocent and who are not even treated with the simplest of respect or dignity. However, caring, and respecting life no matter if human or cat should be the same and we shouldn't be selective. The cat gave some joy and hope so the least we as humans can do is to pay our last respects and out of all this hopefully some humans will learn to do the same for their fellow humans. Good deeds, small or large is what's needed in this world... and having said all this I would hate to see the the media hype this up and have all sorts of idiot tarento show up with their rehearsed tears.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A long life for a stray. RIP little one.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Nice story - the cat was saved, the rail-line was saved, the town was saved. Good all round.

But as has been suggested life means death - and becoming distraught over the passing of an aged cat by those not directly connected seems a bit over the top. A little sad perhaps.

And sorry - I can't get into the RIP frame of. I'm not even sure what that means in this context?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But as has been suggested life means death - and becoming distraught over the passing of an aged cat by those not directly connected seems a bit over the top

Who are we to judge the amount of sorrow someone should or shouldn't feel over the death of a living thing. You feel the way you feel because you feel that way.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Stranger - thankyou. Exactly - I feel the way I feel. As I said - a little sad perhaps.

And I'm not judging others, merely passing comment on the level of grief shown over the death of an aged cat.

I would never judge a Jainist displaying grief over the untimely death of a butterfly, but I can comment on such without being insincere or derogatory.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

YongYang: "@Smith, so because some humans are left to rot, this cat should suffer the same fate?"

No, that's not what I said. I said that it should not be made THAT big a deal out of that the cat died. It's natural that we all die, and while the cat provided comfort and happiness to many, I don't think a huge state funeral with mass media and people crying really does anyone or anything any good. Quite frankly I love cats, and have a pet myself, and will be sad when it passes and maybe even have some little ceremony for it when it does. And I quite liked the story of Tama-chan, by the way. But again, a HUGE ceremony with people streaming in and crying while fellow human beings are indeed left to rot reminds me of when seals in the bay get citizenship that people spend their whole lives fighting for and don't get, or other symbolic shows that are over the top.

I especially hope the death is not something they profit from.

-3 ( +1 / -3 )

Smith: THAT? So cruel. Poor little animal was loved as much as Hachiko.

Your heart muscles are atrophied.

Rest in peace poor little Kittie.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Yelnats - please explain why the kittie in question is poor (I can only think you mean hard up, dire, suffering etc)???

It lived a charmed life full of love and attention esp in it's latter days.

It lived to an old age of 16.

It probably died because it's heart muscles had atrophied.

A V.G.I. (Very Good Innings) by all accounts.

Such is life.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I can't believe I get a thumbs down for a RIP. The commenters here are weird.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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