Our Feline Friends in Tokyo
When having a walk in the suburbs of Tokyo, a foreigner is bound to notice one thing - the large number of stray cats. There are so many of them, all of them has same rough look as homeless people in Shinjuku. Their fur is all tangled up and they have miserable look in their faces. They are all abandoned animals, probably while they were kittens.
Recently author Masako Bando provoked some heavy criticism by her column in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, about kittens. She wrote that every time when her cat breeds, she throws the newborn kittens off the cliff nearby her house. "Sterilizing cats for human convenience is no better than killing newborn kittens, she says."
I can somehow understand the author's idea that it is selfish to keep domestic pets and take control of their natural insticts just for human convenience. But still isn't the killing the newborn cats a form of ultimate supression? As Haruki Murakami once wrote, perhaps if we could ask them, all animals would choose to stay alive rather than die. Maybe living is the most natural thing any being could do.
-Woman in Saitama
I think Bando's proposal does not recognize that felix domesticus is an animal that has been living with humans for a centuries. It is certainly not a wild animal.
A friend of mine in Saitama has been taking care of stray cats for years. At beginning government supported her activity, but then withdrew their financial support, and she was left with ten cats and few dogs to take care of. Seeing her house, full of different kinds of cats, I couldn't help but appreciating her effort.
"At the end, the animals are so helpless, nobody looks after them" she said. Because of the (very almost undetectible) cat scent, she says she cannot invite friends to her house.
Ofcourse, Tokyo is not the only city which has problem like this. Human selfishness is everywhere.
Buddhism teaches us that we must carefully appreciate life in it's all forms, and we must not interfere with the delicate threads of life. What comes to picture here is education. People must be educated to appreciate animal life, just such as human. Just as my friend said, animals have no vocal skill to express themselves, and they are helpless. You cannot throw a human off a cliff without some resistance, but you can do so to a kitten. Throwing kittens off a cliff does not place you to any legal responsibility either.
There is a big moral problem of a power, right there.
I think Japanese government should address problem seriously as the cats are also bound to carry diseases and cause other problems. Japanese people usually are very thoughtfull what comes to living and take good care not to bother other residents. And Japanese people just naturally do love all kinds of living things.
If this is so, then, why there are so many stray cats?