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Thai village uses cartoon cat to pray for rain

Farmers in a drought-hit village in northern Thailand used a stuffed animal of the popular Japanese cartoon cat Doraemon in a rain ritual, to avoid criticisms of animal abuse.

Photos posted on the Facebook page of a local television station on June 28 show the cartoon cat being carried in a wooden cage by residents of the Wang Luang district, during a traditional ritual to pray for rain.

According to local official Rattakarn Jantanu, the district has been going through a severe drought, prompting residents to carry out the ritual, which traditionally requires a black cat. Due to fears of a possible backlash stemming from accusations of animal abuse, the villagers decided to use a stuffed animal instead.

Unable to find an ordinary stuffed cat, the villagers eventually made do with Doraemon, according to Thai Rath Online.

Though the ritual failed to bring rain after participants took the toy to five sacred places in the village, Rattakarn said residents were still happy, since the ritual has “helped comfort them.”