Tama The Cat Stationmaster Has Died, So Let's Toast To Her Beautifully Fulfilled And Furry Life — PHOTOS

According to Kyodo News, Tama, the world’s most famous cat stationmaster, has passed away at the age of 16. Tama, a black, brown, and white calico, became a popular figurehead of the Wakayama Electric Railway Co. in 2007, when she was appointed master of Kishi Station in Western Japan. Tama’s duties consisted primarily of letting people take pictures with her and wearing a funny hat, for which she was paid in cat food. Her appointment did much to bring money to the struggling station and town. A 2008 study found, for example, that Tama’s presence brought in thousands more visitors than usual to the station, and it credited the cat with supplying approximately 1.1 billion yen ($14.1 million) to the local economy, in addition to revenue from popular Tama-themed merchandise. Tama’s role in the station was so successful that she was named a “deputy president” of the Wakayama Electric Railway Co. in 2013. Tama has previously had two feline assistants, Chibi and Miiko, and last year, presumably in deference to Tama’s advancing age, the railroad company named a successor to Tama, a cat called “Nitama” (meaning “second Tama”).

Photos of Tama depict a cat who seems at ease in her managerial role:

TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images
TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images
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Over her years at the train station, Tama became essential to the railroad company’s branding. In 2009, the company debuted a Tama-themed train, and in 2010, it rebuilt Kishi Station to look like a cat’s face.

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Kyodo News reports that Tama has been recovering from rhinitis since May, and is “believed to have died of acute heart failure.” Wakayama Electric Railway Co. will be holding a funeral for her on Sunday.

Images: Getty Images(2); Imgur(5)