Popular Oiwake ‘stationmaster cat’ sees off express trains during walks
A ‘stationmaster hat’-wearing cat that sees-off train passengers from the roadside near JR Oiwake Station in the town of Abira in central Hokkaido is proving popular. For the past 2 ½ years, the cat has been seeing off trains while taking a walk, after the routine began due to illness. The cat’s owner, who lives in the Oiwake district of Oiwake Town, looks on with a smile, saying “it’s almost as if he waves his front paws.”
‘Choboko’ is a 14-year-old grey striped tomcat. In February 2018 he developed diabetes because he was too fat, but after receiving treatment at a veterinary clinic, his weight dropped from 10 to 6 kg. When the vet recommended taking the Choboko for a walk, the owner came up with the idea of dressing him in the hat after remembering a stationmaster hat-wearing cat that was introduced on TV. The cat’s hat was purchased via the internet.
Choboko’s owner travels with him to the vicinity of Oiwake Station, three minutes by car from their home. With help from his owner, he waves his front paws as he sees off the express train that departs the station at around 7:30 every morning, something that has become a daily routine.
Apart from on days that are rainy or snowy, this has continued from May 2018, and now Choboko himself has become popular among passengers who wave back from the train windows, and among local elementary school pupils who greet him with “good morning” as they make their way to school.
Choboko’s diabetes has improved and he is now able to eat what he likes, resulting in his weight returning to 9.6 kg. He is once again in need of a diet but his owner intends to put more effort into the walks, saying “Everyone loves being seen off by Choboko, so we want to continue doing it as much as we can.”
JR Oiwake Station
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