Japanese Couple is Reunited with Cat 3 Years After Tsunami Disaster

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Suika returns to his owners’ home in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, after disappearing in March 2011. (Wataru Sekita)


Kazuko Yamagishi and her husband Takeo live in Okfunato, Japan, about 145 miles north of Fukushima, on the coast. Their house was spared by the devastating tsunami that followed a major earthquake on March 11, 2011 but their cat Suika was missing after the disaster. The Yamagishis searched for 3 months before giving up and thinking Suika must not have survived.

Suika did survive, and turned up last month about 10 miles from home, in a pine forest in Rikuzentakata, when a couple saw a black cat curled up among the trees. The cat was friendly and wore a collar, and the couple took him home and contacted the Ofunato Health Center in hopes of locating his family.

When no one claimed the cat after several days, the center decided to post him in the local paper. The photographer noticed writing on the cat’s collar and was able to make out ‘Yamagishi” and a phone number.

Kazuko and Takeo Yamagishi were contacted by the Ofunato Health Center , and were reunited with their long-missing cat on May 9.

The Asahi Shimbum reported the story, and quotes Kazuko asking “Where have you been?” during her reunion with Suika at the center, and saying, Ofunato Health Center.

The only clue to Suuika’s whereabouts and activities over the past three years is a bell on his collar, which he was not wearing when he went missing, and which suggests that someone has cared for him for at least part of the time.


Kazuko and Takeo Yamagishi get to hold their pet cat, Suika, for the first time in three years and two months in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture. (Wataru Sekita)




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