The news of her death has saddened many people in Japan: Tama, the most famous cat in the country, has been laid to rest - and about 3,000 people have said goodbye to her. During a Shinto ceremony in Wakayama Prefecture, the animal was also declared a deity.
All the fuss about Tama had started in 2007. At that time the cat was named the tiny station of the remote location Kishigawa station Head after leaving the last human stationmaster. This is said to have saved from ruin the regional railway company. The tri-colored animal with the service cap became a tourist attraction and the railway line brought additional customers: thousands of people took advantage of just because of them the route on Kishigawa.
Tama welcomed the travelers at the entrance to the station and had his photo taken with them. "She has really done their job," said Deutsche Bahn CEO Mitsunobu Kojima. "It was an honor to work with her." The company and the local economy have brought Tama estimated an increase of more than one billion Yen in all these years, the equivalent of about eight million euros.
"Eternal Station Head honorary"
The cat also made within the railway company Career: She was promoted to executive vice president of the company. At the funeral she now also received the title of "eternal Station Head honorary". On an altar several photos of the cat could be seen. The visitors laid flowers, tuna down in cans, and other gifts.
Tama was last Monday at the age of 16 years - died of heart failure - the equivalent of about 80 human years. You've had a sinus infection for a month and had been cared for by their owners, said railway spokeswoman Yoshiko Yamaki. "But when I visited on the eve of her death with the boss of the railway company, it is stood up and meows when she wanted him to take it in the arm."
A personal testimony also came from provincial governor Yoshinobu Nisaka: "Tama was very popular in Japan and abroad," he said. "She was a superstar of tourism."