Masahiko Suga, a 56-year-old electronics company retiree in Japan, rose to internet fame in 2014 by taking his nine Persian cats for regular walks about town in a baby stroller.
At first, the daily stroll was just to keep his cats from getting bored and tearing up the furniture in his home. Then he told media he hoped that his cat parade would inspire people to give regular attention to their cats, like they do by walking their dogs every day.
Now, as he takes his 10 cats from his home in southern Japan and loads them into his van for their biannual 620-mile road trip to Tokyo, he says he’s on a mission to save cats from euthanasia.
“I know that it will be impossible to achieve zero euthanasia and to see society become a paradise for cats while I am alive, but I’m doing this with the hope of making things better, even if it is only a little bit,” he told Reuters.
Even in cat-crazy Japan, where Hello Kitty was born and the concept of cat cafes were popularized, Suga and his cats draw a crowd. His Twitter account is full of pictures people have sent him of his cats.
He says his cats love the attention, but more importantly, he hopes they give people unable to have them in their home a chance to interact with felines, and that cats will become more popular in across the country.
Dogs are still more popular in Japan for now, but that may be changing. Japan’s Pet Food Association says the that cat ownership is on the rise, Retuers reports.
By Holly Kellum for NTD