In Japan there is a railway company that employs a cat as a “Super Station Master”. She is the only female employee in a managerial position.
Hoax or Fact:
The message claims that a railway company in Japan has employed a Cat as the “Super Station Master”, also being the only female employee in a managerial position. As interesting as it may sound, it is a fact.
About the Cat
Tama is the name of the Cat, belonging to Calico breed, which was born on April 29, 1999. Tama, the cat became the Station Master and Operating Officer of Kishi Station in Kinokawa, Wakayama, Japan.
How it Happened
The story goes back to April 2006, when the Wakayama Electric Railway had to convert all its manned stations on the Kishigawa line to unmanned ones, so as to reduce costs. Toshiko Koyama was appointed as the station master of Kishi station. Koyama used to adopt and feed stray cats in her area, which also included the good looking Tama. In January 2007, the railway officials decided to name Tama, the cat as the official station master. As the station master, Tama's primary duty is to greet the passengers. The cat also has a stationmaster's hat, and in the form of salary, the railway officials provide Tama with free cat food. This way Tama cat became a mascot of the railways.
This appointment of Tama, the cat as the station master publicized the railways and their in passengers increased significantly in the following years. According to a study, this publicity around Tama has contributed about 1.1 billion Yen to the local economy. Because of these reasons, Tama was promoted to "Super Station Master" in January 2008, in a ceremony attended by the president of the railway company and the mayor. This made Tama the 'only female in a managerial position' in the company. The new position of super station master also brought Tama an "office" - a converted ticket booth having a litter box. This popularity of Tama spread worldwide, and tourists visit the station just to see Tama as the super station master. Because of this growing customer base, the railway officials again promoted Tama to the post of "Operating Officer" in January 2010. This way Tama also became the first cat to become an executive of a railroad corporation. The Animal Planet video on right shows and describes this peculiar job of the cat Tama.
Interestingly, Tama also had two other cats as assistant stationmasters, Chibi and Miiko. From 2009, the Kishigawa line also started a train service named "Tama Densha" (Tama railcar/train), a customized train with cartoon depictions of Tama. And in 2012, the railway officials also brought about a young cat called Nitama to help out Tama - as her official apprentice.
This story of Tama is a good example to show the beauty of love towards animals, something we should also have for our fellow humans as well!