Do cats need maps? That's the question inherently raised by Hiroshima prefecture's tourism board, which made a map for cats — think Google Street View positioned at a cat’s height instead of a car's — looking to explore the shops and restaurants in the city of Onomichi.
Before you balk or remind yourself that you don't like cats, please give the art of catography a chance. There are many bizarre maps in the world — like those of UFO sightings and illustrated state maps — but this is my new favorite. Let me show you why.
Let's begin with a bird's-eye view of Onomichi, a perspective humans have suspiciously favored in mapmaking for centuries.
Meow we can see things from a cat's-eye view for the first time ever.
A cat map is cooler than whatever those highfalutin birds ever offered us.
The key indicates where cat pals live along the way:
There are currently three paths to take in the map, with more paths to come. Along with icons for cats to visit, the larger map also indicates special shops you can't miss.
Hiroshima will publish more cat maps this October, according to the Wall Street Journal. Next, a global cat map? Who knows. The world is truly our oyster.
Each cat has a personal profile of sorts embedded in the map. It's like FourSquare, but for cats.
I learned two lessons about the nature of cat lifestyles by browsing the maps. First, everything is a door. For example, this wooden fence looks like a series of open doors:
Second, roads are entirely too big when you're so small:
At the very least, Hiroshima's cat maps prove that humans can use cat maps to better understand the world, even if the cats don't care.
- Read more: Your travel guide to Japan on Meridian.net.