Celebrate Japan's Cat Day with These 7 Japanese Instagram Cats


Today is Neko no Hi in Japan (meaning "Cat Day"), but even though this is their version of a Hallmark holiday, it means more than just cuddling kitties and posting filtered photos of them lounging in the sun (though we're sure there's plenty of that happening). In 1987, the Executive Cat Day Committee (as advised by the Japan Pet Food Association) launched the new holiday, a day meant to honor their beloved pets, pray for their longevity, and celebrate a "model cat" who once traveled hundreds of miles to reunite with its owner. At the time, the AP reported that February 22 was chosen by the committee because "the date 2-22 in Japanese is pronounced 'ni-ni-ni,' approximating the 'nyan-nyan-nyan' that is the Japanese equivalent of 'meow-meow-meow.'"

In celebration of a country which reveres its cats enough to give them their own islandcat-camera street views, their own themed trains, and to give us Hello Kitty, here are seven social media accounts of Japan's favorite furballs to follow.


This account features arty shots of three different cats, P-chan (a black cat), Nya-san (a brown one), and Tina (a striped cat).


Tokyo's Bebe is an incredibly fluffy 4-year-old Persian feline with impressive anime eyes.


If you crave kitty consistency, this Russian Blue named Cocomo and a mix named Sol are fairly regular with their goodnight and good morning greetings. And, they're easily recognizable because of Sol's slightly cross-eyed gaze.


This is a cat who appreciates a quick nap and a good neck pillow.


This account has plenty of videos of Bucho and Moja playing, lounging, and occasionally being compared to various cultural icons.

6. MSY1515

Documenting three curious cats named Shirasu, Hotate, and Clam, this Instagramer uses action shots and creative angles to show the furry friends at play.


Called the Japanese "Grumpy Cat," 9-year-old Koyuki also always wears a sour expression on her sweet face, but her owner promises that "she is not upset."

Watch How a Bioluminescence Expert Catches a Giant Squid

Giant squid have been the object of fascination for millennia; they may have even provided the origin for the legendary Nordic sea monsters known as the Kraken. But no one had captured them in their natural environment on video until 2012, when marine biologist and bioluminescence expert Edith Widder snagged the first-ever images off Japan's Ogasawara Islands [PDF]. Widder figured out that previous dives—which tended to bring down a ton of gear and bright lights—were scaring all the creatures away. (Slate compares it to "the equivalent of coming into a darkened theater and shining a spotlight at the audience.")

In this clip from BBC Earth Unplugged, Widder explains how the innovative camera-and-lure combo she devised, known as the Eye-in-the-Sea, finally accomplished the job by using red lights (which most deep-sea creatures can't see) and an electronic jellyfish (called the e-jelly) with a flashy light show just right to lure in predators like Architeuthis dux. "I've tried a bunch of different things over the years to try to be able to talk to the animals," Widder says in the video, "and with the e-jelly, I feel like I'm finally making some progress."

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

Big Questions
Why Are There No Snakes in Ireland?

Legend tells of St. Patrick using the power of his faith to drive all of Ireland’s snakes into the sea. It’s an impressive image, but there’s no way it could have happened.

There never were any snakes in Ireland, partly for the same reason that there are no snakes in Hawaii, Iceland, New Zealand, Greenland, or Antarctica: the Emerald Isle is, well, an island.

Eightofnine via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Once upon a time, Ireland was connected to a larger landmass. But that time was an ice age that kept the land far too chilly for cold-blooded reptiles. As the ice age ended around 10,000 years ago, glaciers melted, pouring even more cold water into the now-impassable expanse between Ireland and its neighbors.

Other animals, like wild boars, lynx, and brown bears, managed to make it across—as did a single reptile: the common lizard. Snakes, however, missed their chance.

The country’s serpent-free reputation has, somewhat perversely, turned snake ownership into a status symbol. There have been numerous reports of large pet snakes escaping or being released. As of yet, no species has managed to take hold in the wild—a small miracle in itself.

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