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Cat lovers, rejoice! That is, if you’re in Japan. The Yoro Railway Co Ltd. recently teamed up with an NGO called Kitten Café Sanctuary to make the world’s first cat train. That’s right — cats on a train.

The goal of the partnership between the Japanese civic group and the railway company is to promote stray cat adoption, a problem that has riddled the country with a cat population of nearly 10 million. The railway company and the NGO are also working together to promote tourism between Ōgaki and the destination city, Ikeno. Cats on a train is just the newest venture for the cat-loving industry in Japan — the country is home to cafés where enthusiasts can play with local felines while sipping coffee or tea. The train ride aims to promote awareness of cat welfare issues, especially the plight of those who have been abandoned and are strays.

養老鉄道で「ねこカフェ列車」を運転しました。 鵜沼で少しでも殺処分を減らそうと保護猫活動をされている「こねこカフェsunctuary」さんとの共同企画。これで少しでも世の中の人の保護猫活動への関心が高まればいいなあと思います This is the “Cat cafe train” of Yoro railwey in Japan.Yoro Railway runs in Ogaki near Nagoya and there is a famous Yoro Falls along the railroad line.Yoro Falls is near Yoro Station of Yoro Railway. #自転車 #昭和 #大垣 #ノスタルジー #近鉄 #青の交響曲 #レトロ #昭和 #岐阜 #電車 #ローカル線 #電車 #南大阪線 #楽しい #聲の形 #養老 #養老鉄道 #railway #火車 #養老天命反転地 #揖斐川町 #ねこカフェ列車 #カメラ女子 #いすみ鉄道 #cat #鉄道 #ねこ #猫 #ネコ

A post shared by 養老鉄道Yoro-Railway (@yoro_railway) on

The inaugural ride left from Ōgaki on Sunday and lasted two and a half hours. The train was packed with 30 cats of different breeds, and all of them were brought in from local shelters. One passenger from Sunday’s ride noted that these felines were not like the café cats in that they were active and socialized with everyone on board. According to Japan Today, the reservations booked up quickly and given the response, hopefully another ride is in the cards for those who missed this opportunity. Tickets cost about $27 — each included a bento box lunch, sweets and an unlimited rail pass for the day — while a portion of the proceeds was used to fund Kitten Café Sanctuary’s rescue operations.

The train ride is part of an ongoing effort in Japan to reduce the number of cats culled each year, and so far, tremendous strides have been made. The number of cats admitted to shelters in Japan has dropped nearly 70% — to 72,624 in 2016 from 237,246 in 2004. Check out the video below for a closer look.

H/T: Reuters

Featured image by yoro_railway/Instagram.

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