More Cat News: Tama the Train Stationmaster

June 6, 2008 at 5:29 pm

This blog has become quite pet friendly lately. We’ve discussed Japan’s love for Chihuahuas and the popularity of cat cafes.

Now meet Tama, a tortoise shell-colored cat who was hired last January by Wakayama Electric Railway Company as a mascot / stationmaster. She sits outside the Kishikawa line and draws a crowd to the western entrance. (Her official duty is to greet passengers, and she’s paid in cat food.) She’s nine years old (er, 45 in people years??), and a hit with passersby who can’t resist coming over to photograph her in her rakish “super stationmaster” cap.

The Associated Press says, “[Tama’s] job makes cultural sense in Japan, where cats are considered good luck and are believed to bring in business.”

Apparently the tactic is working; since last year, the Kishikawa line has increased its number of passengers by about 200,000.

Tama’s fame appears to know no bounds. She already has a photography book out, a series of postcards bearing her likeness, and, according to Wikipedia, she will appear in a documentary about cats. (Why not make her the main character? It’s a classic story: stray cat with humble beginnings rises to the top of the transportation industry…)

For all things Tama, check out Japan Probe’s extensive coverage. If you’re now experiencing cute overload, (or ultra kawaii – thanks, Himawari!!) I apologize, and I promise to curb my pet obsession in my next post.

(Or you could read about that angel-of-death-cat for a shot of the macabre.)

Sarah S.

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