Update: Rescuing Japan’s Pets

Some additional updates about pet rescue in the wake of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami. Among the greatest challenges right now is keeping pets and owners together, as many shelters don’t allow pets.

  • The video above appears to be taken within 48 hours of the disaster—the last few seconds require no translation at all.
  • From the Animals in Disasters blog: “The Disaster Assessment Needs Analysis (DANA) estimates that between 16,000 and 19,000 pets are affected in two of the worst hit regions alone.”
  • From yesterday’s Wall Street Journal: “I understand that saving people is the first priority, but we should not forget animals do provide mental support,” Ms. Gallaon-Aoki. “Some people lost everything, from their families to their house, and are left with nothing but their pets.”
  • From AFP, a story that I think typifies how many of us feel about our pets: “I can’t imagine not being here together. If anybody said to me I couldn’t keep Momo here, we would leave with her, we would go somewhere else.” Video available here.

How to help: In addition to the sources I mentioned previously, Japan Earthquake Animal Rescue and Support—a coalition of three groups: HEART-Tokushima, Animal Garden Niigata, and Japan Cat Network—is accepting online donations via ChipIn!

(Thanks to reader Vicky Smith for all the links!)

Cat Island Update

japan_cat_island_nasa_1_590Updates courtesy of Dmitri at pet captain:

A NASA photo (above) from March 12th shows Cat Island above the water level (red arrow)! This, along with a recent report suggesting that the island may have been spared the worst of the tsunami’s wrath, are hopeful signs. See pet captain’s cat blog for details.


As this photo (original source unknown) makes clear, rescue efforts are in full swing—donations are badly needed! More information at pet captain.

Helping the Pets Affected by Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami

While the extent of the devastation caused by the recent earthquake and tsunami is still unknown, there’s no doubt that many pets have been injured and/or left homeless. Several organizations are pitching in—and they need all the help they can get!

The pet captain blog has details and several links for aid agencies responding to the crisis. (Thanks to Dmitri for contacting me about this.) The Best Friends Network is also covering the story, and promises updates as new information becomes available.

Especially troubling is a recent update on the Life With Cats Website, which isn’t optimistic about the fate of Cat Island’s many residents:

“At this moment, there is no official news available on the status of “Cat Island” (Tashiro Island), although the speculation is that it has been submerged by the tsunami’s surge. Cat Island, located on Japan’s vulnerable eastern coast, is the home of 100 elderly humans and hundreds of cats.”

My heartfelt condolences go out to all of those who’ve lost friends and family—human and non-human alike—in this disaster, and my deepest gratitude to the many courageous souls involved in the ongoing rescue efforts.

UPDATE: Some good news about Cat Island from a commenter on Ingrid King’s  The Conscious Cat blog:

“I have a friend in Japan who managed to get in touch with people who knew about Tashirojima – people and cats are said to be okay, but there was a lot of building damage and they need bare necessities for humans and cat food… The Japanese organizations said they couldn’t help at the moment (my friend was very frustrated) and he’s checking for some other foreign organisations which maybe could help. He also found out that a the Japanese defense forces’ helicopter landed there this afternoon. So that’s hopeful.
Lots of volunteers are going to be needed there to help rebuild the island.”