Tama, the spokescat for a railway station in Wakayama Prefecture, has died. She was sixteen. She leaves behind thousands of adoring fans:
Tama, a cat “stationmaster” of a railway station in Wakayama Prefecture whose immense popularity helped boost the railway’s revenues and the local sightseeing industry, died Monday at a local animal hospital aged 16 years and two months, the equivalent of about 80 years in human age, the railway said Wednesday.
Tama was a “tourism superstar extremely popular in and out of Japan who contributed greatly to promoting tourism in our prefecture. I am filled with deep sorrow and appreciation,” Wakayama Gov. Yoshinobu Nisaka said in a statement.
According to Wakayama Electric Railway Co., which appointed the female tortoiseshell cat to master of Kishi Station in January 2007, Tama had been recuperating from rhinitis since May. She is believed to have died of acute heart failure.
The day before her death, Wakayama Electric Railway President Mitsunobu Kojima visited Tama to wish her a speedy recovery. At the time, Tama stood up and let out a strong meow.