Kyoto cat trapped in car for over a month

 Susan Roberts's avatar

Susan Roberts

I'm an educator, traveler, vegan, and animal welfare enthusiast. I'm originally from America, but have been living in Japan for over 20 years.


   While walking on a quiet street, Fabian Raudzus, a German expat living in Kyoto, noticed a black cat inside what looked like an abandoned car. On closer inspection, the car was locked and the inside contained trash. It seemed unlikely that the cat was receiving any care at all. Fabian immediately tried reporting the situation to the police, who informed him that they could not break into a car under any circumstances, without the owner’s permission.

   Fabian contacted the Japan Cat Network, an English speaking animal welfare group in Japan that helps connect non-native speakers with local animal rescue resources. This group put him in contact with Yui Dousee, the leader of Pawer., a Kyoto animal advocacy group organizing adoption events, sterilization assistance, and animal welfare education. The two returned to talk with the police, without any luck. They canvased the neighborhood in hopes of finding the owner of the car. Meanwhile, the poor cat was seen only able to lick the condensation from the car windshield for sustenance.

   Yui contacted Ms. Nezu of Zero No Kai, a long time Kyoto animal welfare effort leader, and sterilization clinic founder, who was eventually able to help put pressure on the authorities to track down the owner of the car. It was discovered that the car’s owner had been hospitalized for dementia, and had no memory of the cat being in the car. Permission was given to open the car and the cat was quickly surrendered into the care of Ms. Nezu.

   Upon release and rescue from the car, the cat weighed only 1.7kg, and was given immediate medical treatment for dehydration. The cat, newly named Mari-chan, has very luckily made a speedy recovery. Fabian and Yui were recently able to visit Mari-chan, now over 3kg and doing well.

   The story is a good reminder of the importance of getting and staying involved when you see an animal needing help. For advice on that, as a traveler or expat, check out our article There's No Place Like a Forever Home. This story is also a great example of collaboration amongst animal helpers, working together to find positive outcomes. For more on that topic, check out On the Road to Recovery. For more on Mari-chan's story, check out the Asahi News article.

   Japanese article in Asahi

   Photos taken by Yui from Pawer.

blog image blog image

Groups mentioned in the article

Checkout Japan Cat Network's page and support their amazing work
Checkout Pawer.'s page and support their amazing work