This cat owner experienced a bittersweet reunion when his departed cat made an unexpected reappearence on the popular navigation service, Google Street View.
As a work of photography, the image itself doesn’t seem particularly impressive. The blurry screenshot shows a white cat with brown splotches on its tail and head slinking through a residential area. Nothing out of the ordinary it would seem, especially considering some of the more remarkable scenes that have surfaced on Google Street View over the years. Still, the tweet containing it has become a trending topic online, with the original post garnering thousands of likes as it circulates across the internet.
So why’s everyone freaking out? Cue the X-Files theme, and refer below to the original tweet for the details of this phantom feline’s Lazarus moment.
ひじから (@hijikara) August 16, 2016
In the tweet, Japanese twitter user @hijikara excitedly proclaims that he’s “found our cat that died on Google Maps!” It seems the user came across this photograph unexpectedly when looking at images of their hometown, as the cat passed away some time ago.
Many users were quick to note the timely nature of this discovery. That’s because in Japan, August is a time for homecoming, when people return to their place of birth to celebrate a Buddhist holiday called “Obon.”
According to traditional beliefs in Japan, Obon marks the time of year when spirits of the departed return home to Earth. Big cities, usually crowded with shoppers and office workers become quiet, and the crowds in public spaces grow sparse as millions travel back to smaller cities to spend time with family and honor the memories of departed loved-ones.
Now it seems that it’s not only human souls that make this journey home.
While similar cases of deceased relatives and friends appearing on Street View have occurred over the years, this discovery was all the more remarkable because this particular cat spent most of its life indoors. The owner says that the cat happened to have slipped outside the day the Google truck came around to survey the neighborhood. The mischievous feline presumably crossed paths with it as it was taking pictures of the area.
▼ One of Google’s Street View cameras doing its thing
As a fellow animal lover and cat owner, I can’t help but feel a little emotional about this one. I can’t even muster any of my signature sarcastic quips!
The owner still probably misses their pet, but the story offers a nice, though poignant, reminder of an old friend.