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!
▼ “The cat shrine at my grandfather’s place! ♂”
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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?
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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!
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Here’s another cat hanging out at a shrine. It doesn’t look too happy about the snow though…
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▼ This cat was apparently spotted at Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto.
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.
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…
▼ “I iz in ur shrinz, stealin’ ur offeringz.”
▼ Here’s a cat at a small shrine near Miyajidake Hachimanji Shrine.
▼ We’re thinking all hokora (small shrines) need a resident cat.
▼ See, this is what we’re talking about!
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!