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Nara no longer represents the same lofty political authority it once did, but the city is still the site of several important temples, as well as the impressive Nara Daibutsu, a bronze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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Adorable napping otters in Mie Prefecture school humanity in how to relax

Last winter, we were all saddened to hear about the passing of Giant Isopod No.1, the most famous crustacean at the Toba Aquarium in Mie Prefecture. Life must go on, though, and perhaps it’s now finally time to turn the page at Toba, as the isopod era comes to an end and is replaced by something much cuter: the age of adorable napping otters.

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Faithful pooch in Akita saves 5-year-old owner from attacking bear

We recently had a good chuckle at the dog that got itself comically trapped in its backyard in urban Japan. As silly as that Shiba inu may have looked though, the breed isn’t all poorly-thought-out curiosity and exploration-related hijinks. Recently, a Shiba in Akita Prefecture earned some positive publicity for its kin by saving its young owner from a bear.

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Awesome Japanese sandals give you the footprints of a cat or T-rex

One trick for dealing with the sweltering heat of summer is to free your feet with some comfy sandals. If you need a double dose of soothing coolness, you can strap on a pair and go for a stroll on the beach as you enjoy the sea breeze blowing across your exposed feet.

But while any variety of open-toed footwear will do the trick, if you’re looking to add a dash of quirky cuteness to your wardrobe, plus share the fun with everyone who comes by later, your best options are these animal-soled sandals that turn your footsteps into those of a cat or dinosaur.

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Relax, because this seemingly trapped cat is doing just that

Last week, we shared the story of a dog that managed to get itself comically stuck in a suburban garden. Now, the trend of animals in Japan wedging themselves into tight spaces continues with this compacted kitty.

But whereas the Shiba Inu we saw before had to be rescued by a passerby, what looks like a harrowing predicament is actually all part of the cat’s ingenious plan.

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Rumors of ‘horned cockroaches’ in Japan continue to attract believers, terrify us, and be false

Japan has sort of a love-hate relationship with bugs. On one hand, there’s a trio of insects that are seen as nostalgic symbols of summer. Dragonflies are a popular motif on yukata summer kimono, the whining of cicadas is an immediate audio cue that brings back memories of the lazy days of summer vacation, and catching stag beetles has been a popular pastime during the warmer months for generations of Japanese kids.

On the other hand, cockroaches are universally hated, because, well, they’re cockroaches.

With such strongly contrasting emotions involved, it’s understandable that rumors persist of a cockroach/stag beetle hybrid, something which caught the nation’s attention again recently after someone in Japan claimed to have caught one.

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Conditions in North Korea so bad even the wildlife are making a break for it 【Video】

Apparently unsatisfied with North Korea’s delectable, super power-bestowing mushrooms, and finding very little else in the way of sustenance, a desperate tiger was recently caught on camera making the treacherous swim across the Yalu River from North Korea towards China.

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Cheerful, cherubic cat chillin’ on a chair 【Video】

When my nephew was still a baby, I clearly remember the whole family gathering to watch as he rolled over for the first time. It was an exciting moment, and we were all impressed by his accomplishment.

On the other hand, I can’t remember the last time anyone gave me a round of applause for rolling over, even if I’ve had so much beer that my motor skills have regressed to infant-level. The fact is that whether an action is compelling to watch has as much to do with the natural charisma of the performer as it does with what they’re doing.

For example, most of us couldn’t entertain a group of strangers by just sitting in a chair, but that’s only because we aren’t this incredibly cute, eminently relaxed cat.

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