Kinokawa, Japan

Daily Mail

The station master in a small Japanese town knows little about trains and is more interested in naps and treats than in schedules, which is not surprising because she is a cat.

Since 2007, a calico named Tama has served as Super Station Master of Kishi station in Kinokawa City - the last stop on the Wakayama Electric Railway. A decade earlier, the small regional train line had been losing $4.7million a year, with trains almost always running empty. But with the appointment of the furry station master, the town’s flagging fortunes experienced a remarkable turnaround, The Atlantic Cities reported.  The tiny, provincial municipality became an overnight tourist destination. Visitors from across the country have been flocking to the provincial town just to take a picture with Tama.

In the process, the railway system that at one time had been on the verge of bankruptcy got a $10.4 million boost thanks to travelers eager to see the four-legged railway official.   Beside boosting ridership, Tama has inspired a whole line of cat-themed products, from T-shirts, stuffed animals and other souvenirs to a full set of dining room furniture emblazoned with the kitty’s likeness.  In 2009, the railway eager to cater to Tama’s fans unveiled a special cat-themed train featuring cartoon depictions of everyone’s favorite feline.