An army of feral cats rules a remote island in southern Japan, curling up in abandoned houses or strutting about in a fishing village that is overrun with felines outnumbering humans six to one.
Originally introduced to Japan's mile-long island of Aoshima to deal with mice that plagued fishermen's boats, the cats stayed on -- and multiplied.
More than 120 cats swarm the island with only a handful of humans for company, mostly pensioners who didn't join the waves of migrants seeking work in the cities after World War II. Reuters photographer Thomas Peter visits the 'cat island'.
Fresh catch! A cat carries a fish on Aoshima Island in Ehime prefecture in southern Japan. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters
Cat calls: Hungry, they wait for their food. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters
Bungee: A cat jumps for food offered by a tourist on the island. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters
The key player: A cat jumps from a piano and plays around in a music room of a derelict school. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters
Cat woman: Cats crowd around village nurse and Ozu city official Atsuko Ogata as she carries a bag of food to a designated feeding place on Aoshima Island. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters
40 winks: It's nap time for some.
Get outta my way: A woman shoos away cats as she leaves her house.
Kitty party: Cats play around with a local woman on the island.
Hello, kitty! A tourist takes pictures of cats as they sit at the harbour on Aoshima Island. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters
All eyes on... A cat leaps at a photographer to snatch his lunch snack. Photograph: Thomas Peter/Reuters
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