This Man Has Spent 10 Years Caring for Cats Left Behind in Fukushima’s Nuclear Zone

This Man Is Still Rescuing the Forgotten Cats of Fukushima Ten Years After the Nuclear Disaster

Photo: Stock Photos from wee-lo/Shutterstock

It has been a decade since an earthquake and tsunami caused the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. Since then, Sakae Kato has been rescuing the cats left behind by people fleeing the disaster. Kato is caring for 41 felines on his property and has already buried 23 other cats in his garden. He also rescued a dog named Pochi.

Before the accident, Kato owned a small construction business on land that was in his family for three generations. His connection to the land was part of what made him stay while 160,000 others evacuated. Kato says that his decision was solidified after finding dead pets in abandoned homes and realizing that someone had to care for those who remained.

Now, Kato spends his days with no running water in a small quarantined community. He drives to public toilets each day and he fills water bottles in a spring in the nearby mountains. Despite this simple life for himself, Kato says he spends an estimated $7,000 every month for his animals. Aside from Pochi and the cats that live inside, Kato also leaves hot food for feral cats on his property. He even feeds the wild boar freely roaming the area.

The dedication to the wild boar has led Kato to trouble with the law. On February 25, 2021, he was arrested after allegedly freeing a boar caught in traps set by the Japanese government. (At the time of writing, it is unclear if he still detained.) Since his arrest, neighbors began helping to care for the vets on his property. Once he returns, he is sure to continue his work caring for the forgotten pets of Fukushima.

Sakae Kato stayed behind after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster to take care of the cats that were left there.

h/t: [Reuters]

Related Articles:

This Woman Has Dedicated Her Life To Rescuing Hundreds of Neglected Animals [Interview]

Watch This Brave “Bee Whisperer” Rescue a Live Beehive With Her Bare Hands

Photos Reveal Emotional Look Inside the Abandoned Fukushima Exclusion Zone

This Japanese Inn Is Offering Sleepovers With Cats to Encourage Adoption

Samantha Pires

Sam Pires is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She is also a freelance architectural designer. She holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from NJIT and is currently earning a Master in Architecture II from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Sam has design experience at multiple renowned architecture firms such as Gensler and Bjarke Ingels Group. She believes architecture should be more accessible to everyone and uses writing to tell unexpected stories about the built environment. You can connect with her online at
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content