Okfunato, Japan residents Kazuko Yamagishi and her husband Takeo live about 145 miles north of Fukushima on the coast. While the couple’s house was spared by the devastating tsunami that followed a major earthquake in March 2011, their cat Suika was not so lucky – the feline went missing during the natural disaster. The Yamagishis, who are in their 60’s, searched for their beloved lost cat for three months before they gave up, thinking that their precious Suika hadn’t survived.
They were wrong: Suika did survive – he turned up last month about ten miles from home, in a pine forest in Rikuzentakata. A couple had seen a black cat curled up among the trees; it was friendly and wore a collar, so the couple took him home and then contacted the Ofunato Health Center to possible help in locating his family.
When no one claimed the turned in cat after several days, Ofunato decided to post about him in their 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 were subsequently contacted by Ofunato and were reunited with their long-missing cat over three years later on May 9th.
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 – it makes the suggestion that someone else has cared for him for at least part of the time that he went missing.
Photo by Wataru Sekita