Cats have a particular disadvantage in Korea. If one were to believe all of what is said about cats in Korean media and popular wisdom, one might also assume that cats live to deceive and frighten people while spreading disease.
Although some dogs, especially small dogs, are kept as pets, it is very uncommon for Koreans to raise cats with similar affection. High-quality cat products are available only through U.S. Military bases, which are not accessible by Korean nationals. Therefore, the cat food and litter one might see at a typical supermarket or pet store are scarce in Korea. Only recently has Korea begin selling cat food, but with high prices and of questionable quality. Vaccinations and common veterinary services for cats are extremely rare.
IAKA is trying to educate the public, especially through primary schools, that cats are friendly, clean and are especially suitable pets for Korea's congested urban neighborhoods. More resources, like veterinary care for cats, must move in these neighborhoods so that Koreans who want to adopt a cat have easily accessible services.
Education should share the truth with Koreans, as negative attitudes about cats go back for many years. Cats are considered vermin in need of population control. Many attempts have been made to eradicate the stray cat population, by beating the animals to death in sacks or, in some cases, boiling them alive in large pressure cookers. The cats' remains then supply an insatiable demand for "herbal" remedies, or as the base ingredient in elixirs believed to cure ailments like arthritis and neuralgia.
These photographs show how much cats suffer from antiquated myths passed down generation by generation. They are not suitable for all audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.