December 1, 2008

Shinjuku Ward Hates Cats

There are pockets of residential areas in Tokyo that are seemingly overrun with stray cats. It would seem almost wrong to call them strays; some are so well-fed that they have gone beyond pleasingly plump and possess bellies that look almost ready to burst.
Shinjuku Ward's public health centre attempts to solve this situation by putting up signs that appeal to people's conscience. This one reads, "If you are going to feed the cats, clean up after them and get them castrated and spayed!" Clearly this is not happening, although I did once run across a tiny flea market in Shibuya (different ward) where a woman implored the customers not to haggle over prices because the she was raising funds to get the local strays cats neutered and spayed.
In the end, the signs have become yet another addition to the notifications that pepper the area. The ones here include everything from warnings for unlawful entry (which includes dogs and cats!) to garbage dumping, but the majority are reminders about pets: to pick up after them, to keep them on a leash, and to assume general responsibility.

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