NekoJinja

A few weeks ago, we found out that some cats had started taking over shrines in Thailand. While that might make our furry friends seem extremely impious, it’s also exactly the kind of hubris that we suspect cats particularly delight in. Now, you may be wondering if the same thing could happen in Japan–and the answer is: Of course!

While we’ve long suspected cats of being emissaries of the spirit world, these photos should make it clear that your kitten isn’t just adorable–it’s holy adorable!

We’ve looked at some places where you can worship cats in Japan before, but today we’re looking at photos of cats hanging out in shrines captured by the Internet, so let’s check out our first photo, taken in Onomichi, where cats are a pretty big deal. It’s a great place to visit by bicycle too!

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREBlog de Sanpo

▼ “The cat shrine at my grandfather’s place! ♂”

[tweet https://twitter.com/seiya_GD3/status/566576715397607425 align=center]

It looks like this Twitter user found a number of cats napping at a proper shrine. Maybe the gods like having the cats around to keep mice away…

[tweet https://twitter.com/shiraui00/status/523347016928079872 align=center]

…or to keep them company when they’re lonely. Which we’re guessing is most of the year for whatever deity is supposed to live in this Valentine’s shrine.

▼ Or maybe a pouting cat is a metaphor for love?

[tweet https://twitter.com/k1653/status/567229275720257537 align=center]

For some reason, these mini, home-made shrines with cats were quite popular earlier this year on Twitter. And by “for some reason,” we mean because they’re freaking adorable!

[tweet https://twitter.com/kojirowo/status/554635883530317824 align=center]

Here’s another cat hanging out at a shrine. It doesn’t look too happy about the snow though…

[tweet https://twitter.com/wakame_666/status/563383363185029121 align=center]

▼ This cat was apparently spotted at Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto.

tumblr_n2ovhy8dw61r2dru3o1_500Tumblr (Mercury-mouth)

Whenever you see a cat at a shrine, you can’t help wondering if it’s the enshrined deity just looking for a belly rub. From this cat’s face, that’s exactly what we think is going on here.

[tweet https://twitter.com/_mutotom/status/508599885252136961 align=center]

This photo is from Suitengu in Ikebukuro. It seems to be a popular haunt for cats in Tokyo, and you can find a YouTube video of cats at the shrine here.

B-sBg72UYAEsZRcTwitter (@igurumi_takumi)

The Twitter user who captured this photo in Kawagoe remarked that it looks like something far beyond a cat–like a properly deity! Or at least the spirit of a fierce cat warrior…

BzLc4vVCMAEe5xqTwitter (@funzwara)

▼ “I iz in ur shrinz, stealin’ ur offeringz.”

f0234982_22461454Nandaka Nichiwa

▼ Here’s a cat at a small shrine near Miyajidake Hachimanji Shrine.

20121128115951_1Nagasaki no Koujo no Nagasaki Nikki

▼ We’re thinking all hokora (small shrines) need a resident cat.

20121128115952_2Nagasaki no Koujo no Nagasaki Nikki

▼ See, this is what we’re talking about!

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If you’ve seen any cat that might have actually been a Japanese deity (or any other deity for that matter), let us know in the comments!

Sources: Japaaan
Images: Twitter (@funzwara)