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Cats outnumber people on this mysterious ‘Cat Island’

Cats crowd the harbor on Aoshima Island in southern Japan on Feb. 25. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)
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The Internet has long had a love affair with cats — and now has cat-loving tourists flocking to a small, remote island in southern Japan where cats outnumber humans six to one.

Take that cat cafe!

[So, how would a cafe crawling with adorable kittens pass a D.C. health inspection?]

Home to more than 120 feral cats, Aoshima Island has no stores and no cars. It has one ferry, running twice per day, carrying a limit of 34 daily visitors, as Reuters reported.

“I seldom carried tourists before,” ferry captain Nobuyuki Ninomiya told the Japan Daily Press. “Now I carry tourists every week, even though the only thing we have to offer is cats.”

Cats outnumber humans on the remote Japanese island, Aoshima. (Video: Reuters)

“Cat Island,” as the locals call it, was once home to 900 people in 1945. Today, it’s home mostly to pensioners who didn’t seek work elsewhere after World War II.

The cats were first brought to the island to deal with the mouse population that would swarm fishing boats. According to the Japan Daily Press, the feline population began to increase about a decade ago when the human population declined and there wasn’t anyone to keep the cats from breeding. Today, as few as 10 of the cats are neutered.

“There is a ton of cats here, then there was this sort of cat witch who came out to feed the cats, which was quite fun,” 27-year-old visitor Makiko Yamasaki told Reuters. “So I’d want to come again.”

Aoshima Island is not the only cat island in Japan. Here’s a list.