All aboard the cat train: a unique event to help stray cats

The first cat cafe opened in Japan in 2004 and there are now dozens of them. If you’re wondering what a cat cafe is, it’s exactly that: a place where people can have something to eat or drink while interacting with the cats in residence.

It isn’t as crazy as it sounds at first: there are large numbers of people in Japan who live in apartments where pets aren’t allowed, so if any of them need a feline fix…

Kitten Cafe Sanctuary, a civic group in the city of Gifu, about 200 miles west of Tokyo, wanted to raise public awareness of the stray cat issue in the hope that more would be adopted. They teamed up with the Yoro Railway to organize a unique event: a cat train!

It was just a one-day event, a chance for cat lovers to go for a 2 or 3 hour train ride along with several dozen felines, all of them former strays. The $27 ticket price included a box lunch and the 80 available tickets for the two cat train trips sold out almost immediately.

As you’ll see in the video posted below, everyone seemed to be having a good time. The cats were playful and surprisingly unfazed by their unfamiliar surroundings. Mikiko Hayashi, a passenger who’s a parent to two former strays, said, “I think it’s great that more people are aware of stray kittens though events like this.” Another passenger, Kyoko Suzuno, enjoyed the trip: “It’s cute, very cute. There are so many cats. It’s great.”

For better or worse, cat trains aren’t likely to become a routine part of rail travel in Japan, but this was certainly a nice idea for a fundraiser and awareness campaign. What did you think of the cat train? Would you hop aboard? Let’s hear from you in the comments at Facebook and be sure to like and share!