The Kitties of Okinawa

Iโ€™m linking this post to Sunday Post, Mailbox Monday, and Itโ€™s Monday! What Are You Reading?


I know that I have been really quiet on here, even though I said that I was ready to get back to blogging. There’s a reason behind it, and if you follow me on Instagram, you have probably already guessed it.

Upon moving to the island of Okinawa, I soon realized that the island is overrun with feral and stray cats. You can’t go outside your house without seeing at least one cat wandering around, and that’s a good day. On my first trip out of quarantine after we arrived, I went to a local convenient store and was greeted by not one but two cats. One looked like she’d just given birth and the other looked ready to pop. Both looked like kittens themselves. Since I didn’t even have a house yet (I was staying in temporary lodging), I couldn’t do anything about it other than love on them. It’s like that everywhere you go on the island, though. There’s even a location that’s along the beach that is known for being the dumping grounds of animals when military members leave the island and don’t take their pets with them. I haven’t been yet because I’m still focusing on my immediate area. However, I’ve seen photos of the colonies of cats scarfing down food that people toss them and it’s just so sad.

So, needless to say, I’ve decided that in the handful of years that I will be here, I’m going to make it my mission to help as many animals as I can. In the 3 months that I’ve been here, I have already helped seven cats. I take them in, get them medical attention, get them fixed (if old enough) and then either find a home for them, or release them back to their area if they are really feral. The Mr. and I even built a catio for the cats to hang out in while they get medical care and spayed/neutered. I wish I could bring them all inside, but I have two cats of my own that were not a fan of the few cats that came into the house while they recovered. They are much happier now that the catio is built and they no longer have unwanted guests staying in a room upstairs.

Kazu (white cat) was the first cat that I caught. He was in really rough shape when he showed up to our house. It looked like he’d gotten into a fight and lost poorly (swollen face, couldn’t open one of his eyes, and had a gash on his side). So I caught him (Pitbulls & Parolees style), brought him inside, got him to a vet, and a week later got him neutered. However, we soon learned that Kazu was not only deaf, but had a diaphragmatic hernia and couldn’t be released back outside. I had a home lined up for him and decided to take him to the vet before the adoption to get the hernia checked out. Turned out he needed emergency surgery. While he survived the surgery, sadly, he passed away in the night. That was a really hard loss for me, but his passing pushed me to help the babies out here before they get to that point. 😞

Jesse (black kitten) was actually brought to me the night I found out that Kazu had passed away at the vet’s office. Someone had found this kitten, but had a cat aggressive dog and couldn’t hold onto her. So they brought her to my house and I got her medical attention. Turned out she was covered in lice and had the flu, hence the shaved cat look. The person that was going to adopt Kazu, decided to give Jessie a home. She’s currently going by the name Lucy-fur and is being spoiled rotten.

Pipsqueak (orange & white) was actually the first cat that started showing up to the house when we got here. He has the squeakiest of meows and looks like he was the runt of the litter, hence the name. He seemed to be unsure of whether he was friendly or skittish. So, I took advantage of his friendly moment, put his breakfast in the catio and did the most easiest catch ever. He wound up being very friendly and a huge cuddle bug. I got him neutered and he’s back to living the life outside… on our back porch. Apparently, he has adopted us and has made our patio his safe space. It probably doesn’t hurt that he gets two big meals a day, a safe place to lay his head, and all the cuddles he could ask for.

Mama and babies (bottom photos) were the latest rescues. The location they were at, they were going to be captured and brought to a facility where they do gas chamber euthanasia. So, a friend and I went out and caught them. The mama was pretty easy. My friend was there before I got there and she caught the mom in a trap. However, the kittens were another story. They were hidden away in a storm drain system that had 4 different connections that the kittens could run to. It just so happened that they ran to the connection that a bush was growing into so it was heavily dense with roots and I couldn’t get to them. So… we waited a lot time for the babies to get curious and wander out. Let me tell you, kittens are cute and all, but those lil guys were ferocious. They ripped through my gloves and left marks on my hands with their teeth. Since I had Pip at the time, my friend took the mama and babies home and has been caring for them. She has a TNR appointment for the mama since she’s feral, but she’s trying to line up homes for the babies.

So yeah, when I say I have been busy, I have been busy. However, I am very fortunate to have a lot of people support me in my mission to do as much work with these cats as I can whileย  we are here. A friend of mine made me this image to share (because I’m awful with that kind of stuff). I’ve also had people donate supplies like bowls and litter boxes for the cats that I am fostering. So, I’m thankful that there are others out there who want to help these babies as much as I do. <3

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35 Thoughts on “The Kitties of Okinawa

  1. You’ve really been busy. Good luck with the cats.

    • It’s been a lot, but I suppose it’s kept me busy. I was hoping to get a job once we moved here or volunteer at the shelter. However, the island has been under a state of emergency since we arrived. So no one is taking on new help due to the pandemic. ๐Ÿ™

  2. What a noble thing to do!! You are a savior for sure!

  3. That’s so sad about those cats. I’ve traveled around the world with the military and I’ve always shipped cats and dogs and whatever pets I have with use. It’s expensive sometimes, but we always took them with us! So glad you’re doing what you can for them.

    • Me too. We paid over $3,000 to get our dog here because we couldn’t get him on the military flight to Oki. I already have multiple game plans in place for when we leave in three years. One of which is flying family/friends out to help me get my babies off the island via a commercial flight if we can’t get spots on the military flight again. I just couldn’t imagine people not only leaving, but literally dumping their babies out in the wild. In the few months I’ve been here, I’ve heard a handful of stories where someone took in dogs/cats to pet sit for someone, and the person literally left the island and never came back. So these people are stuck with animals they don’t want. It’s just mind blowing.

      I’m only one person, but I hope that in the time that I’m here, I’m able to not only help a ton of the animals on the island, but maybe inspire others to join the cause. I try to post on the various groups out here when I’m doing a TNR in an area so they don’t feed the cat I’m trying to catch, don’t think I’m scoping out their houses, and don’t report me to housing for “dumping my cat” when I’m releasing it back to its location.

  4. I love that you saw a problem and are actually doing something about it! Not many people do that. I’m heading over now to send you a small donation via Paypal.

    • FYI – I couldn’t find you on Paypal using KPBing, so I used the email address you have listed for Zelle. Let me know if you don’t get it!

      • Nicole! You are so sweet. Thank you for the donation. The money went through. The Paypal handle is weird because even though that’s the username, you have to go through It’s kinda weird. But, seriously, thank you for your donation. I ran out of cat food today and will be heading to the store to get the cats some more food. I have an appointment for Pip’s brother to get TNR’ed in a couple of weeks, so I’ve been making sure to feed them at specific times each day so that there’s a routine. It will hopefully make for an easy catch when his appointment pops up.

  5. Wow! You are amazing helping all those kitties. Does the government have a program to go out and get them all spayed and neutered or anything? If not, why not?

    • They don’t have a program. However, the island is so overrun with feral cats, that there are a couple of vets on the island that do discounted TNR tickets that they give out each month. So it costs about $55 for a neuter and $90 for a spay. They only hand out about 10 each month so it’s a race to try to get one. It is cheap in comparison to the US, but it still adds up in the end.

  6. That is so cool you are doing that! And oh my gosh that black one looks so tiny! The last pic too- wow. You are definitely going to make a huge difference for some of these cats. I’m sorry tohear about Kazu but y ay for Pip[squeak! Glad he’s feeling safe and doing well.

    I can’t believe people dump their animals like that either- I hope you’re able to update us every once in a while as to how things are going, I love that you’re doing this!

    • Thanks, Greg. Yeah, lil Jessie was tiny. Her new family updates me on her and she’s looking so much better and has a ton more energy now that she’s feeling better. The mama and babies are also doing well. The mama will be getting spayed on Friday and then released since she’s really feral, but the babies will be going to homes by the end of the month once they are socialized with people and get their health check-ups.

      I will try to update. I wasn’t sure if I would even include this in my monthly recap, but since I’ve already missed a couple monthly posts and my blogging has been nonexistent, I kind of felt I needed to shed some light on why I haven’t been active. But, I will try to include a lil kitty update every month. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Juli @ A Universe in Words on 6 September, 2021 at 1:24 am said:

    I love what you’re doing for those cats! A friend of mine in Shanghai did the same and I frequently fostered little kittens for her until she found them a home. I picked up my own cat from the streets of Shanghai as well, so I’m glad you’re able to help so many of them! Very solid reason to not be blogging as much and I’d love more updates on all the kitties of Okinawa! I hope you have a lovely week ๐Ÿ™‚
    Juli @ A Universe in Words

    • It’s crazy. I feel like it’s worse here because it is an island that houses thousands of military members. So, if they don’t get a pet spot on the military flight out, they have to pay thousands to get their pets back to the states. I have to pay $3000 to get my dog out here because there wasn’t space on the flight. So, people just dump them when they leave. It’s so sickening and heartbreaking.

  8. You are amazing, helping the cats. Enjoy your rescues…and your books. Thanks for sharing, and here are my WEEKLY UPDATES

  9. Have a great week, and enjoy your books.

  10. That is such a great way of keeping busy! Hope you can help out more cats. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Kathy Martin on 6 September, 2021 at 8:24 am said:

    What a mission! Good luck with taking care of the cats. Nice assortment of books too. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  12. Oh my gosh, you are so wonderful what you are doing for those cats! My sister has two cats now that she found outside her house when the feral mother had left them there. She took them in and took them to the vet and now they are her babies. You have been so busy, but what a wonderful thing to do. I also adore the name Lucy-fur. lol

    • Thank you, Lisa. There are just so many cats out here that people just seem numb to it all. HOwever, I’m an animal lover, and a cat person at heart, so I just don’t have it in me to turn a blind eye.

  13. Such a nice mission. I love seeing rescued animals.
    I like your fantasy reads… tempting!
    Happy Reading in between taking care of the cats and kitties!

    • Me, too. Nothing better than rescuing an animal and giving it a second chance at life. Even if all it is a simple TNR where they no longer have to fight off other cats

  14. Good luck with the kitty endeavor. Such a good thing!

  15. I’m surprised no government resources have been put in to take care of these animals. Poor kitties. I’m glad they have you to help them. Maybe you can get donations and get others to foster the animals. You’re a kind soul.

    • It’s kind of hard out here because I do not live in a big city. It’s just a small island. I think people have become so numb to it that they don’t even recognize it anymore. However, I”m brand spanking new, and a huge cat mama, so I’m all over it. LoL I can only do so much being one person, but word is spreading that I’m the cat rescuer and I’ve been fortunate enough that people have given me litter boxes and food to feed the cats. However, there are other rescues out there that need it more, so I’ve been passing on the food and goods to them. I just don’t feel right taking the food when there’s a lady running a hospice shelter for elderly and disabled pets. I feel like we all need to work together to make the biggest impact.

  16. You’re doing a good thing!!

    Feral kittens can be a handful!

    I remember I had a litter and their mom in my garage awaiting their vet appointment. I won momma cat over but the kittens took me forever to gather and it was not pretty lol

    Karen @For What It’s Worth

    • Thanks, Karen. They sure can be. But it’s such a rewarding feeling to be able to help them. Whether it’s just getting them fixed so they no longer fight over mating or territory, getting the medical to help them feel better, or finding them homes.

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