Japan has a cat population of about 9.8 million, of which an astounding number are strays. Thousands of stray kittens are euthanised every year, but with the Japanese adopting them in large numbers, the number of culled cats has plummeted from 238,929 in 2004 to 45,574 in 2016.
To encourage people to adopt or take care of the stray population, Yoro Railways and Kitten Cafe Sanctuary operated a very special train on September 10, in the Gifu and Mie Prefectures, with 30 rescued kittens. The train ran between Ogaki and Ikeno Stations, with seats for 40 passengers, who could play with the adorable kittens.
Predictably, the tickets were sold out within a day as cat lovers rushed for the opportunity of spending two and a half hours on a train ride with 30 kittens. The furry felines roamed freely across the train while passengers cuddled and played with them. A portion of the $27 fare, which included food, sweets and unlimited travel on Yoro Railways for the day, was donated to the Sanctuary’s rescue programmes, and all 30 kittens, who were previously slated to be put down, were adopted.
Though it was a special one-day event, cat lovers across the world are pushing to make the cat cafe train a regular affair.