It’s happened internet, we have become so involved with the world of cats, we are becoming them. Or at least, we’re developing the ability to look at the world from their point of view. Because why not?
Cat Street View is a new project launched by Hiroshima Prefecture in an attempt to drum up tourism, which allows users to take a Google street view-esque tour of the city of Onomichi, but from a cat’s perspective. In this interactive map you’re essentially lower down but have the feeling of complete freedom that this entire world is yours and yours alone to explore. They really couldn’t have picked a better animal.
The project uses 360-degree cameras like the those used by Google Maps and lets you explore a shopping arcade and its surrounding areas at your leisure, so do it with the lackadaisical air of a cat or it’s a wasted opportunity. You can even meet 11 other pet cats who live in the area and are part of the project, learning more about them by clicking on links to their bios. Each cat’s bio comes with a gallery of pictures, so you can see the many facets of their superiority. To make the entire experience even more cat-focussed, every time you click the mouse you hear a meowing sound. Your Japanese and English are useless in this world, so abandon them now if you want to survive.
There is a concept movie for the project, but it mostly involves being intimidatingly stared down by a variety of cat breeds. Skip to 1:02 and know that your fluffy demise is coming.
With 11 cat islands, Japan has already got its claws pretty firmly into the top spot of cat-loving nations. However, the city of Onomichi is on another level, with an estimated feline population of 150,000, an area called Neko no Hosomichi, “Path of Cats”, and a Maneki-neko Museum which holds over 3000 of the lucky waving figurines.
If this honestly isn’t enough cats to satisfy you, the tourist board has said it will add more maps in October, and that probably means more cats. We can hear the purrs of approval.