But they really aren't kidding. There are feral cats EVERYWHERE in Japan.
Bathroom guarding kitty, hot spring kitty (who's eaten one too many eggs, I think), castle kitties, shrine kitties.
People feed them.
Some even set up little cardboard homes for them.
Some are tame enough to pet.
But most of them still look pissed off.
And rightfully so. They get some of the benefits of being a pet, but not all. Who takes care of them when they are sick? Who cleans up their poo? Who keeps them out of the cold? Who mourns for them when they die?
An advertisement for a cat memorial service
Okay, maybe I sound a little bleeding heart there, but as a former volunteer feral-but-fixed colony feeder, it bothered me. Sure cats are cute, and for the most part they can take care of themselves - but in urban environments, they really do belong in homes. It's safer for them (away from cars, especially), and keeps the cat-hating neighbor happier. True story, my last colony cat died from poisoned food set out by some cat-hating jerk. *sigh*.
Anyway, I don't know if Japan has similar efforts to trap and fix their feral, but from the amount of cats we saw, they may need more. In most of the US, at least, you can tell if a feral is fixed by a notch made in the ear of the cat:
Oh - and on less soap-boxy side note, Sak and I have talked a lot about adopting a kitteh. Cats really like Sak for some reason, and now that our rats have passed on, we could foreseeable add to our family. But I think we shall wait until we find a place of more permanent residence first. Which is a whole different can of worms. *sigh*.
Ferals - a problem, or not?