New cat takes over as Japanese railway stationmaster

A rural town in Japan is celebrating its new railway stationmaster, who is “purrfect” for the job.

Oh, and the new hire “doesn’t dislike wearing a hat.”

Nitama has clawed her way into the stationmaster role, succeeding Tama, the tortoiseshell credited with saving the struggling Kishi Station in Wakayama Prefecture. Tama had adoring fans from all over the world, and many tourists made a stop at Kishi Station just to visit her. Visitors would then spend time in the small town, purchasing goods and helping the local economy.

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Tama died in June at the age of 16.

CNN reports that after a traditional mourning period of 50 days, Wakayama Electric Railway President Mitsunobu Kojima announced that Nitama would be the new stationmaster.

Nitama served deputy under Tama, and apparently learned a lot from her, though Nitama already had served time as stationmaster at Idakiso Station.

According to the railway company, Nitama has also successfully completed Cat Stationmaster Training School, which basically consists of getting along with people and tolerating a hat.

Tama will not be forgotten: The station has erected a monument featuring a bronze statue of the cat. 

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