Idea of which one person rescues one cat.

We ordinary people tend to leave issues of stray cats to an activist group such as an NPO. I also have asked to rescue stray cats three times for three activist groups in the past. But all of them rejected before I tell the details. However, if you think of it carefully, you will notice it's a wrong idea to expect that an activist group could rescue stray cats without restriction. And it might be a better idea that one person rescues one cat rather than one activist group rescues 100 cats. So we ordinary people should do what we can do.

I don't recommend to rescue multiple stray cats at a time. Keeping multiple cats could be a more serious problem for cats when the keeper become poor or sick, and when he or she dies. The ideal activity which I think of is one person rescues one cat. If this idea and activities spread widely, stray cats would reduce. There are so many stray cats in outdoors, but it's obviously less than humans.

Then we, people of Tokyo, come up against an obstacle that 90 percent of apartments in Tokyo prohibit to keep a pet. I don't think it is right to ignore bad rules. Though I broke the rule twice for rescue fragile lives, a kitten and a sick old cat, I currently have moved to an apartment which one of 10 percent. The tendency of our society should be shifted. It is not less people who tell the reason why they can't keep or rescue a stray cat. I eager to let landlords and management companies know that acceptance of keeping a pet means to save a life.

This photo was taken in 31 August 2012, Tokyo, Japan. ©Naoto Shinkai





2012年8月31日 東京都内にて撮影 ©Naoto Shinkai


Increasing of stray cats caused by media.

The media, mainly publishers, in Japan often introduce stray cats as free, funny, cute animals living in outdoors. When publishers feature about stray cats in a magazine, they write a title of the article like: ‘Happy cat town of Tokyo’, ‘Paradise island of cats’, ‘Joyous encounter with alley cats.’ And a lot of photo books distribute so many happy looking images of stray cats to people.

One day, I went to a cat photo exhibition, the photo of the poster and the flyer was a jumping cat. The photo is apparently amazing. The cat's tail is held vertically, the background is the blue sky. But I couldn't help but feel different in the face. The eyes aren't animated. I doubted if the cat really had jumped pleasantly. However, people smiled at the sketchy impression.

Hanging around to expect to encounter stray cats in a town and meeting a cat who looks happy, and taking their photos, sharing the photos on the internet with cat lovers are wonderful.  But I gradually became to feel it's hard. Because there are definitely so many pitiful stray cats than happy stray cats. When I take 10 stray cat photos, for example, 7 miserable cats will be hidden in my storage and 3 happy-looking cats will be in publish makes me feel that I am betraying stray cats totally. I began to think I should take photos which represent stray cats.

I had been taking stray cat photos for 6 years and one conclusion came out. It was unexpected even for me. It is all cats shouldn't be in outdoors. Every cat is a creature who should be relaxed in a human's house. I learned this truth from an sick old cat who was rescued by me.

Some of the people who feed stray cats, or wild birds, are trying to make an ideal circumstance of human and animal coexistence. But this is a wrong idea. Cities are consisted in the exclusive way for animals. Asphalt and concrete don't resolve animal excrement. Cats are non-wildlife who have been selected and evolved by human beings. So its brain keeps itself being infant even when the body grows up an adult. The fact of stray cats is just infants who are living in the outdoors.

The municipal governments of Japan must have been culling tens of thousands stray cats every year for more than four decades. The fact exists behind the tendency of uncritical admiration of stray cats from far away. The media still contribute making such tendency.

*I post this image of a stray cat leaping downward, as a metaphor of their lives.

This photo was taken on 10 February 2013, Tokyo, Japan. ©Naoto Shinkai









2013年2月10日 東京都内にて撮影 ©Naoto Shinkai