animals

Fighting like cats and dogs? Not these cute little guys! 【Photos】

Sometimes just keeping up with the news makes you despair for humanity. Between all the war, racially motivated killings, ethnic strife, and general meanness, you have to wonder if we will ever be able to get along.

It’s been one of those days and I needed a pick-me-up, so here is a collection of photos of dogs and cats getting along. Because if they can manage to overcome their differences, maybe we can too.

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【Monday Kickstart】Beat the weekly grind with these adorable ‘jamming baby owls’

Who‘s got to go to work, you ask? Not us!, is what these two adorable owlets seem to be saying as they lazily bob back and forth in this YouTube video. These fuzzy little guys have even been popping up on Japanese websites, so we thought we’d spread the kawaiiness some more. No matter how dreary your Monday may be, keep calm and ‘jam’ with these owls!

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Miffy found trapped in vending machine, may need help from ninja frog to escape

On the surface, being a beloved children’s character might seem like it’s all hugs and smiles. In the harsh world of reality, though, being so soft and cuddly, with no offensive capabilities, can have its downsides.

It was only a week ago, for example, that Sesame Street’s Elmo was discovered tied to a stake in the hinterlands of Japan, his mouth wide open as, we assumed, he screamed for help. Next on the list of cute captives: Dutch storybook bunny Miffy, who was found trapped inside a vending machine.

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Still a ways to go, but animal welfare in Japan is improving by leaps and bounds

We’ve covered some stories in recent months about the distressing state of animal welfare in Japan and shocking cases of animal abuse, but I wanted to let our readers know that isn’t the whole story. Granted, in comparison with many other developed nations, Japan lags behind in this area, but that doesn’t mean it’s stuck in the Stone Age either. Over the last couple of decades, through the hard work of their human advocates, the situation for dogs and cats in Japan has been improving.

In the interest of acknowledging those efforts, recognizing where Japan is getting things right, and just generally bringing some good news to the table, we wanted to share with you some of the positive changes happening in Nihon.

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Cute little kitty works its way into crevices of owner’s apartment, Internet’s heart【Photos】

Given the small size of many Japanese homes, by the time you get all your furniture and other belongs in, it’s not uncommon to wind up wishing you had more space for yourself. Eventually, though, you learn to maximize your apartment’s storage capacity.

Bulky winter coats get folded and boxed up during the summer. Space under the couch? Fill it with storage containers. Too many DVDs? Throw out all the cases and stick the disks in a compact travel case.

And that tiny empty patch on the shelf? Prefect for a cute little cat.

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Dog butts — Japanese netizens are going crazy for them!【Pics】

Certain animal parts, like the ever-venerated cat paw, seem to have a special place in our hearts. (Well, you can’t really blame us for finding cat paws, or even cat nuts, for that matter, irresistibly cute, can you?) Animal buttocks also seem to be a favorite around the world, based on their popularity on the web. Japan is no exception, and we have our fair share of animal tooshie lovers — even a following of hamster butt fans on Facebook. So it’s not really surprising that the Japanese online public has recently been swooning over a series of pictures featuring … dog butts! But darn it, nobody warned us canine bums were so lethally cute!

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Chiro the corgi talks, shakes hands, wiggles her bootie, and wins our hearts

Dogs have been human companions for tens of thousands of years, so it’s hardly surprising that we’re still such good buddies. After all, as cute as cats are, you’d be hard pressed to find many felines that would go to bat to protect their owners. They might keep the mice away, but they’re not likely to scare off any burglars.

Even so, some dogs just seem like better protectors than others. Corgis, for example, are apparently great alarm dogs. Though if you’re counting on your corgi to protect you, this video may give you second thoughts…

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These four Siberian Huskies probably have more followers than you on Instagram!

Hey folks! The weekend is finally here! You know the drill: it’s time to let the animals out! We saw quite a few cat articles this week, so here’s one for you dog lovers out there! You know, we always try to play fair.

Introducing the hottest Husky family on Instagram, right after the break!

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“Black Cat” delivery company uses pawprint gloves to ensure packages are handled with cute

With so much of Japan being connected to the country’s excellent public transportation network, a lot of people get by just fine without a car. Stores are generally located near rail and subway stations, making it easy to carry home daily essentials like a bottle of Kirin, six-pack of Asahi Super Dry, or 24-can case of Ebisu beer.

Still, there are times when you need to transport a purchase or package that’s too large or bulky to haul by hand, which is where Japan’s home delivery industry comes in. With multiple companies all fighting for customers’ business, each organization has to do something to differentiate itself from its rivals, which one outfit routinely does with adorable cat paw gloves.

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Nara’s deer continue their summertime tradition of commandeering one of the city’s streets

Although it’s often overshadowed by Kyoto, the city of Nara can also count itself among the pre-Tokyo capitals of Japan. As a matter of fact, Nara was to be the country’s first permanent capital, challenging the beliefs of the day that the death of an emperor contaminated the area and necessitated moving the base of power.

Nara no longer represents the same lofty political authority it once did, but the city is still the site of several important temples, as well as the impressive Nara Daibutsu, a bronze Buddha statue nearly 15 meters (49 feet) tall.

And yet, the first thing most people think of when they hear Nara is deer, since over 1,000 of the animals live inside Nara Park. But even with roughly 500 hectares (1,235 acres) of space to run around in, sometimes the deer like to stray outside the park’s boundaries, such as they do each July when they occupy this sidewalk and stretch of road.

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Cats transform into bears, bats, and more, impress and enchant Japanese Internet users

In the debate of cats versus dogs, the canine camp usually points to dogs’ energy and overt affection as proof of the superiority of their pet of choice. Feline fans fire back that cats are more sophisticated and cleaner than their low-brow rivals.

Now, it seems another factor in cats’ favor has been discovered: some of them are versatile enough to act as stand-ins for other members of the animal kingdom, as shown in this series of photos that’s delighting animal lovers in Japan.

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Visitors to this Wakayama beach get to swim with whales this summer

As comedian and noted lover of cinnamon rolls and burritos Jim Gaffigan famously said, going whale watching is kind of boring. It’s a handful of hours of waiting around, a brief glimpse of “something I wouldn’t even watch on television,” and then your most likely drunk tour captain whisking you back to shore in time for happy hour.

And maybe Jim’s right. Sure, whales are the most majestic of creatures, but is it really all that fun to spend all day on a swaying deck for a half-second glimpse of a tail or something? Scuba diving with whales would be much more exciting, but that’s sort of dangerous and you need a license. If only there were a place where whales would come right up to you on the beach and hang out for a while…

Oh, that’s right! That’s exactly what happens at Wakayama’s easy-to-read-and-pronounce Higashimuroguntaijichou Whale Beach.

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Get a little Harry Potter-esque owl action at a bird cafe in Asakusa

With the highly anticipated Harry Potter attraction at Universal Studios Japan having just opened this week to great fanfare, owls seem to be the hot “animal of the hour” at the moment in Japan. (Plus, we think owls are pretty cool-looking birds to begin with even without the Harry Potter factor!) In that spirit, one of the reporters from our sister site Pouch recently visited a bird cafe in the Asakusa area of Tokyo, where you can interact with numerous species of owls, yes, but also parakeets and even some falcons as well! Since we’d already had such an awesome time at the owl cafe in Tsukishima, we knew we were going to thoroughly enjoy this visit too. And you can’t really blame us for wanting to share our photos of all the cute owls with you, can you? If you’ve ever been fascinated by owls, we think you’ll be impressed at how up-close and personal you can get with the birds once you’ve seen the pictures!

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Japanese housecat has strikingly beautiful blue eyes right up until she gets goofy at naptime

Wow, now those are some amazing baby blues. Even if you’re not a cat lover, or not really into pets in general, there’s no denying this is a cat with a captivating countenance.

With eyes twice as beautiful as most other felines’, you might you might come to the conclusion that this cat would still look beautiful with its eyes half-shut.

You’d be wrong, though. Hilariously wrong.

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Tokyo’s cat pub, the cat cafe for grown-ups

In Japan, since so many people who love cute animals live in apartments that don’t allow pets, you can find cafes that’ll let you relax in the company of everything from owls to bunnies. The most common and widely documented are of course cat cafes, but what do you do when you’re craving not only a little feline companionship, but also want something a bit stronger than a cup of coffee?

Simple: you head to the cat pub in Tokyo.

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All-black chicken is the second most metal bird you’ll ever see

There’s something about the color black that gets people all kinds of excited. In many countries, it’s associated with bad omens, mystery, the supernatural, and even magic. But in the West, it’s most commonly associated with one thing only: METAL.

And so it is that in the eyes of Indonesians, the Ayam Cemani is a prized breed of pitch-black chicken that probably portends good luck or something, but to the Western eye, it’s the second most metal bird we’ve ever seen.

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What’s making this adorable pet owl go bananas?

While we get as warm and fuzzy as anyone when we spy a puppy, kitten, or bunny, our love of the animal kingdom extends far beyond just those three types of critters. We’re pretty fond of owls, too, whether they’re keeping us company as we have a drink, silently serving as art tutors, or just hanging around the house.

But as tranquil and wise as they may usually appear, even owls have limits, and there are some sights so provocative they cause the birds to go completely bananas, like this guy here is doing.

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Japanese giant salamander caught taking a stroll on land

Japan is home to many strange and interesting creatures from freakishly huge wasps to beautifully blue glowing squid, but perhaps one of the oddest is the seldom seen Japanese giant salamander or Ōsanshōuo as it’s called in Japanese.

Although they spend most of their lives underwater, every now and again you might just catch one making the trek onto land as the lucky Twitter user who found this guy did. From this image it might be hard to see exactly how big the Japanese giant salamander can be, but the following picture gives us a better sense of scale.

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30 squeal-tasticly cute bunny GIFs to get you through the weekend!

What are you doing this weekend? If you haven’t made any plans, these bunny GIF images could give you some inspiration for the weekend. Even if you’ve already made plans, these fuzzy little buns are bound to make your weekend even better with their irresistible cuteness! Hop on!

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Seemingly cute cat in downtown Tokyo might desperately need help, plus a new owner

For years, Hachiko, the faithful Akita dog that waited every day outside Shibuya Station after its owner died at his workplace, has been Tokyo’s most famous animal. Recently, though, it seemed like cat-loving Tokyoites had found an animal celebrity of their own when a cat perched on top of a signpost in Ginza started drawing crowds.

Unfortunately, the scene has gone from heartwarming to heartbreaking with some sharp-eyed observers’ theory that the cat is in actuality being abused by its owner.

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