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Purrfect post: Kitten to serve as apprentice 'cat stationmaster' in northeast Japan

A kitten that will serve as an apprentice "cat stationmaster" at Aizu Railway Co.'s Ashinomaki Onsen Station is seen in the city of Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, in northeastern Japan, on Jan. 18, 2020. (Photo courtesy of the Ashinomaki Onsen Eki wo Mamoru Kai)

AIZUWAKAMATSU, Fukushima -- A cuddly kitten born in December will begin serving as an apprentice to a "cat stationmaster" at a railway in this northeastern Japan city this spring.

The kitten, an American curl born on Dec. 24, 2019, will take up its new position at Aizu Railway Co's Ashinomaki Onsen Station as early as April, after being vaccinated. It is believed the kitten is female, though this has not been confirmed.

At the station, the kitten's siblings Love and Peach, both males aged 5 and 3, respectively, are serving as the "second honorary stationmaster" and "director" of the station. The kitten's duties will include welcoming passengers as a future candidate for the next stationmaster.

The local volunteer group "Ashinomaki Onsen Eki wo Mamoru Kai" ("Association to protect Ashinomaki Onsen Station"), is collecting ideas for the kitten's name in hiragana characters until March 22, via a special ballot box at the station and by mail. A naming ceremony is likely to be held around April. The group can be contacted by phone on 0242-92-3766 (in Japanese).

(Japanese original by Seiichi Yuasa, Aizuwakamatsu Local Bureau)

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