Pampered cats in Japan

According to an old tradition, cats were introduced into Japan from China, and the imperial palace in Kyoto had cats by the year 999. However, the upperclass Japanese pampered and fed the cats and did not let them play their usual role of rodent hunters. Over time, as rodents proliferated, the Japanese assumed the obvious: maybe we should let our pampered pets act as nature intended and benefit ourselves in the process.
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