On the road to recovery

 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.

If you’ve been involved in animal rescue for any length of time, you’ve probably seen how things sometimes come together in an amazing way. A positive outcome often involves the determination of someone who first notices a problem and then doesn’t give up until a way is found to solve it. One kind traveler refused to walk away when she saw a kitten in dire need, and because of her persistence, a life was saved.

While walking along a river in a popular tourist destination in Tokyo, a tourist saw a badly injured kitten. When offered food, the kitten refused to eat. Yet, the kitten weakly continued to approach other tourists and passersby, crying for help. The tourist knew that she couldn’t take the kitten back to her hostel. Others told her that the situation was hopeless. She quickly began searching online to see if she could find groups in the area helping animals.

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After Japan Cat Network received photos and information about the location, volunteers responded. A US volunteer veterinarian was in the response team. Things didn’t look good at first, as the kitten wasn’t moving. But, when rescuers attempted picking the kitten up, he became frightened and immediately tried to get away. It took a bit of following him around through some bushes, but eventually the vet managed to wrap the kitten in a towel and then get him into a makeshift carrier (a travel packing net makes a good emergency pet carrier).

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Akiko Katori, a local group representative from Chiyoda Nyantonarukai, recommended a good veterinary clinic and met up at the clinic to assist. The veterinarian cautiously began to examine the kitten, inside the net. But, as things went along, it was clear that the kitten was not wild. He eventually began to respond positively to touch and then sat up and started to clean himself! It was an amazingly quick transformation from a desperate kitten at death’s door to a little guy with hope that things were finally turning around for him! Found in front of a famous Asahi landmark, the kitten was named Asahi.

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Chiyoda Nyantonarukai kindly offered to take ongoing responsibility, with assistance from the veterinary clinic with finding a forever home, after Asahi’s recovery. Following treatment that afternoon, Asahi began to eat on his own. As days went on, he continued to recover. While there is still some concern about residual nerve damage, the clinic is working on rehabilitation, and the wound has now completely healed.

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This story should be an inspiration to travelers everywhere! An animal was seen in distress, and rather than walking away, a tourist immediately got to work contacting local groups. She got in touch with the right people, making this animal rescue story a remarkable success. She also offered to help with vet costs, knowing local groups were likely stretched thin, and a number of kind animal rescuers came together to help. Through all of this, a little life in desperate need was saved!

When you see an animal in need, wherever you are, you do have a choice. There’s almost always something that can be done, if you’re willing to make the effort. See this article for more tips on what to do if you find an animal in distress while traveling or living abroad. And, please continue to support groups around the world helping animals.

Groups mentioned in the article

Checkout Japan Cat Network's page and support their amazing work
Checkout Chiyoda Nyantonarukai's page and support their amazing work