This Man Has Spent 10 Years Caring for Cats Left Behind in Fukushima’s Nuclear Zone

It has been a decade since an earthquake and tsunami caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Since then, Sakae Kato has been rescuing the cats left behind by people fleeing the disaster. Kato is caring for 41 felines on his property and has already buried 23 other cats in his garden. He also rescued a dog named Pochi.

Before the accident, Kato owned a small construction business on land that was in his family for three generations. His connection to the land was part of what made him stay while 160,000 others evacuated. Kato says that his decision was solidified after finding dead pets in abandoned homes and realizing that someone had to care for those who remained.

Now, Kato spends his days with no running water in a small quarantined community. He drives to public toilets each day and he fills water bottles in a spring in the nearby mountains. Despite this simple life for himself, Kato says he spends an estimated $7,000 every month for his animals. Aside from Pochi and the cats that live inside, Kato also leaves hot food for feral cats on his property. He even feeds the wild boar freely roaming the area.

The dedication to the wild boar has led Kato to trouble with the law. On February 25, 2021, he was arrested after allegedly freeing a boar caught in traps set by the Japanese government. (At the time of writing, it is unclear if he still detained.) Since his arrest, neighbors began helping to care for the vets on his property. Once he returns, he is sure to continue his work caring for the forgotten pets of Fukushima.

Sakae Kato stayed behind after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster to take care of the cats that were left there.

h/t: [Reuters]

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READ: This Man Has Spent 10 Years Caring for Cats Left Behind in Fukushima’s Nuclear Zone

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