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