Monday 8 April 2024

In Japan the Maya Nyamber Card for indoor cats brings perks for the owner

Japan is good with domestic cats. They like their cats but they have stray cats like anywhere else and I have always said that stray cats are a symptom of failure in cat domestication. Nobody could dispute that. They can also endanger wildlife. We all know that too.

And on Amami-Oshima island in Kagoshima Prefecture they have wildlife, and it is wildlife which is protected as found in a declared World Natural Heritage site. Therefore the authorities want domestic cats to be kept indoors full-time which actually is quite a trending objective for many municipalities across the world particularly in the West.

Fictional image of an indoor cat on the Japanese island of Amami-Oshima who has his precious Maya Nyamber Card. Image: DALL-E 3

And in order to encourage owners to keep their cats indoors full-time and protect wildlife the authorities are issuing a Maya Nyamber Card, which is a kind of ID card for cats. So the purpose of this card is to encourage cat caregivers to be responsible and prevent their cat from becoming a stray and therefore possibly a feral cat at which point they might endanger precious wildlife on the island.


A cat caregiver will be eligible if there cat is spayed or neutered and kept indoors. The cat will also have to be micro-chipped and registered with the authorities. Five municipal governments: Amami, Setouchi, Tatsugo, Yamato, and Uken are issuing the cards.

On each card there will be the cat's name and address, the colour of their fur, an emergency contact number other than the number of the owner and a photo of the cat.

Fee and Perks

The application fee for this precious card is ¥1000 which works out at about US$7.50. And now for the precious perks. It was hard to find this information but there has to be a perk. There has to be something in it for the cat's owner otherwise they wouldn't do it. And it is said that the perks on offer are: information about cat adoption, photo exhibitions and an annual lottery event with prizes!

If that is the list of perks then I don't think that owners of cats kept indoors full-time will actually apply for this card. It isn't enough. That's my own opinion to which I am entitled.

Naming the card

Last point: the interesting name of this card Maya Nyamber Card is said to be a playful twist on another card called the My Number Card which I believe applies to people and in the cat version the word maya means cats in the local dialect and the word nyamber is a wordplay on "nyan" which is Japanese for a sound that resembled the meowing of a cat apparently. Don't ask me how that works out but that is how the name of the card was decided.


I suppose a last perk would be the fact that a responsible cat caregiver, concerned about wildlife, will have one of these cards and they can proudly tell people about it as a badge that they are excellent cat caregivers. But they can only do that in my opinion if they also enrich the environment of their cat kept indoors full-time. That is an essential element to the concept of full-time indoor cats.


P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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