Kinako Goes Home

Life With Cats is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.

A missing cat is reunited with her petmom 15 months after the evacuation of the Fukushima, Japan radiation zone caused the two to become separated.

Nanao Mizoe, left, a veterinarian at the Kawasaki Wildlife Volunteer Center in Kanagawa Prefecture, with Kinako and Ryoka Yamooka of the Emergency Disaster Animal Relief Headquarters, who delivered Kinako to her petmom in Fukushima Prefecture. (Norihide Furusawa).

 For many of us living far from Japan, the terrible events of March 2011 have begun to recede into memory. Early in March of last year Japan was hit with a triple set of disasters when an earthquake triggered a massive tsuname that seriously damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant.

Residents of the radiation zone surrounding the plant were ordered to evacuate, and many left their animals behind because they expected to be allowed to return home after a day or two. A crisis of huge proportion resulted when thousands of cats and dogs, other companion animals and livestock were stranded in an eerily uninhabited no-man’s land. Rescuers scrambled to feed and remove as many animals as possible before the government closed the area, and many were taken to a variety of rescue centers.

Kinako was is rough shape when she was picked up as a stray in August of 2011, five months after she ended up on her own due to the disasters that hit the area where she lived. She was bedraggled, starving and infected with FIV. The 5 year old calico was trapped in Okuma, not far from the contaminated power plant.

She first went to Miharu, at the the Emergency Disaster Animal Relief Headquarters. When her family didn’t come forward, and couldn’t be found, Kinako was then taken to the Kawasaki Wildlife Volunteer center, in Kawasaki, outside of Tokyo and far from her former home.

Kinako is one of a very few animals in her circumstances to be reunited with her family, especially after all this time. She is the only animal brought to the wildlife center to be reclaimed. By chance, her petmom recently visited a website where she recognized a photo of her missing cat.

The center had put Kinoko, who was being called Cheese, up for adoption, and her mom found her online through her listing. The woman contacted the center and was able to accurately describe marking details at one of the cat’s ears, which made it clear she really was the cat’s long lost missing person.

Kinoko was finally reunited with her family on June 27.

According to Yasuo Minagawa, a veterinarian and the director of the Kawasaki volunteer center. “I had never thought that an owner would be found. I just hope that ‘Cheese’ will live happily with its owner for the rest of her life.”


Leave a Comment