A Japanese family wondered why water placed on their family alter kept disappearing. Turns out a furry relative was to blame!

In Japanese culture, it’s tradition to have a butsudan, or family altar, in the home. The butsudan altar is where the family stores the ashes, and often photos, of deceased relatives, keeping their memory alive. Incense is lit inside the butsudan, and worldly refreshments like fruit and sake are placed as offerings for the spirits of the deceased.

Fledgling manga artist Hiroki Ugawa (@ugawa) keeps a cup of water on his family altar as well, but recently he started noticing something a little strange. Over time the water steadily disappears.

It was a little bit mysterious. Could it be a message from the spirit world? Could his dead relatives be trying to get in contact with him? Or are they simply imbibing the offerings provided?

But rather than any of those things, it was just the thirsty family cat sneaking a sip from the cup.

▼ “I solved the mystery of why the water offering on our family altar was disappearing…”

It seems that up until now the sneaky feline had been secretly slurping up the sacred water for itself! The mystery was solved when Ugawa caught his furry relative in the act. He was probably a little bit relieved to know he wasn’t experiencing paranormal activity in his home, although he was likely annoyed at his cat’s evident irreverence for the ancestors.

Unsurprisingly, Ugawa’s cat isn’t the only guilty kitty. It seems like cats everywhere like to indulge in their owners offerings to their ancestors, without regard to religious tradition.

▼ “Our cat also drinks it all up! lol It can be quite a shock, right? Haha”

▼ “Since it’s summer I decorated ours with lots of fake flowers. But when I got home I saw this! Hey, you! Stop that!”

Of course, cats that violate sacred spaces aren’t limited to domestic family altars. This cat is taking advantage of a free drink in front of a family grave!

Cats will do as cats do, of course. They’ll make the altar all about them by claiming it as their home, or they’ll even lie down flat in the middle of a painstakingly raked rock garden. You can’t stop a cat from doing anything it wants to do, so you might as well take pictures to post on the Internet for the rest of us to enjoy!

Source, featured Image: Twitter/@ugawa