Japan says goodbye to beloved ‘stationmaster cat’

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Tama, the calico “stationmaster cat”  who single-handedly single-pawedly brought a Japanese railway line back from the brink of financial collapse, has died.

According to The Telegraph, Tama had climbed the ranks to become president of the Wakayama Electric Railway and was 16 years old at the time of her death. When she was first appointed stationmaster of the rural Kishi Station in Wakayama in 2007, the railway line was struggling and the station had laid off its last human employee.

Tama, who could be spotted walking through the station wearing a tiny railway cap, soon drew crowds, boosting ridership on the line by 55,000 and adding 1.1 billion yen to the local economy.

Railway officials held a shinto-style funeral for Tama at the station over the weekend that drew thousands, notes The Guardian, which says she will be laid to rest at a nearby shrine for cats. Despite the sad news, Kishi station will also continue to have a feline presence. Tama will be succeeded by her apprentice, a calico named Nitana.

Photo by AFP/Getty

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