Japan: Cat returns home three years after tsunami

Suika the cat returns home Image copyright Asahi Shimbun / Wataru Sekita
Image caption Suika the cat returns home

A cat has been reunited with his owners three years after going missing in the devastating Japanese tsunami, it is reported.

Suika, a black short-haired feline, lived with Kazuko Yamagishi and her husband Takeo in Ofunato, north-eastern Iwate Prefecture, until the tsunami struck on 11 March 2011, Asahi Shimbun newspaper reports. While the Yamagishi home escaped devastation - unlike the rest of the town - their cat was nowhere to be seen. The couple searched for Suika for three months before giving up hope.

But on 10 April another couple spotted a black cat curled up in a nearby pine forest. He was friendly and wore a collar, and they took it to the Ofunato Health Centre. After several days nobody had claimed the cat, so the centre put an announcement in a local paper. It was when an employee was taking a photo of the cat that he noticed the Yamagishi name and number in faded letters on the collar.

"Where have you been?" Kazuko Yamagishi asked her long-lost pet when they were reunited. "It's just like a dream," she said. It is not clear how Suika survived the ordeal, but a bell on his collar suggests someone else took care of him while he was away.

Image copyright Asahi Shimbun / Wataru Sekita
Image caption Kazuko and Takeo Yamagishi get to hold their cat Suika after three years

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