Our Top 10 Favourite Travel Destinations For The Cat Enthusiast

by Paws on Your Heart on November 24, 2015

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Everyone in the world seems to be infatuated with cats, and many places in the world have found a very unique way to show their appreciation and love of the feline. The following list is of our favourite feline themed destinations around the world. From unique sanctuaries, to cat themed museums, this list features locations that are sure to be enjoyable for every cat enthusiast to visit. (Listed from West to East. Also, be sure to click on the titles to see the destinations!).

1.     Parliament Hill Cat Sanctuary
111 Wellington Street  Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

A colony of stray cats lived atop Canada’s Parliament Hill from the 1950s until 2013. These lucky cats were given an adorable home that was shaped just like a miniature version of the Parliament building, with 10 to 20 felines per house. Visitors were welcome to the area while the cats were living in the sanctuary. Unfortunately, the sanctuary closed down in 2013 due to the dwindling population of stray cats in the area. They plan to build a memorial for the sanctuary, likely in the same spot that the sanctuary stood for so many years.

2.     Hemingway Home
907 Whitehead Street Key West, Florida, United States

Ernest Hemingway was not only a great American Author, but he was also a lover of Polydactyl cats. He owned many of these 6-toed cats during his life, and although he passed away in 1961, Hemingway’s love of Polydactyl cats lives on in the Hemingway home. Today, visitors to the Hemingway home museum may be lucky enough to be greeted by some 40 Polydactyl residents.

3.     Hermitage Museum
Dvortsovaya Ploshchad (Dvortsovaya Square)

Did you know that Russia is home to one of the most unique museums in the Eastern World? The Hermitage was home to royalty in the 1700s, and it also became the home for great works of art, and several cats. Empress Elizabeth introduced cats to Hermitage in the mid 1700s to keep rodents out of the home, and cats have resided in the building ever since.

Today the cats continue to live in the labyrinths below the famous museum keeping guard of the museum by controlling the rodent population. The basement is not only a workplace for the cats, but it is also an active sanctuary that has 8 locations for feeding the cats, a clinic, and a room for the cats to rest. The felines are also allowed free roam of the courtyard outside of the museum thanks to small holes in all of the steel doors.

4.     KattenKabinet Cat Museum
Herengracht 497  1017 BT Amsterdam, Netherlands

The KattenKabinet museum is in a beautiful Patrician style home located by the Herengracht canal in Amsterdam. A wealthy Dutchman named William Meijer founded the museum in 1990 so that he could preserve the memory of his cat John Pierpont Morgan. This museum is entirely cat themed, with an array of cat inspired art, sculptures, books, and posters from all over the world. There are even resident cats that can be seen lounging on the classical style furniture in the home.

5.     The Cat Boat Cat Sanctuary
Singel 38.G , 1015 AB Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Amsterdam has a very unique cat sanctuary located on the Singel Canal. The sanctuary was created in 1966 with help from a woman named Henriette van Weelde, and it’s located on a boat!

Henriette was a cat fanatic, and always loved caring for stray and feral cats. She began bringing home stray cats to give them shelter in her home, and soon her house was so full of cats that she had no more room for new cats. In 1968, Henriette decided to purchase a houseboat on the Singel Canal to make room for more felines.

Today the boat is open to visitors from 1:00pm – 3:00pm all week except for Sundays and Wednesdays when the boat is closed to visitors. So if you find yourself in Amsterdam, why not visit this incredible sanctuary and the cats that live in it.

6.     Largo di Torre Argentina
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 102  00186 Rome, Italy

Largo di Torre Argentina is a Roman cat sanctuary that is home to over 250 cats. If you look close enough, these felines can be spotted lounging on the Roman Ruins in the area. Cats began taking up residence in the area in 1929, shortly after the area was excavated. For over half of a century a local woman cared for the cats, and not until 1994 was a safe building built for the felines. Today, Largo di Torre Argentina is run by volunteers 365 days a year to ensure that the felines are healthy and happy in the shelter.

7.     Pyramid Cat Colony
Piazza di Porta San Paolo 00153 Rome, Italy

The Pyramid Cat Colony is located just outside of the Protestant’s Graveyard in Testaccio, Rome. This colony was founded in 1850, though it was not officially recognized until 1984. The colony received proper recognition thanks to a woman named Matilde Talli who fought for years to get into the archaeological site to build a proper shelter for the cats. Today, the graveyard acts as a sanctuary for over 200 abandoned and stray cats.

8.     Cat Island (Tashirojima Island)
40 Minute Ferry Ride from Ishinomaki, Japan

Cat Island or Tashirojima Island is an island in Japan that is almost completely inhabited by cats. The cats are not owned by anyone on the island, but are treated by the residents with as much respect and love as if they were their pets.

If you are looking to visit Cat Island, you will have to take a 40-minute ferry ride from Ishinomaki, Japan, as there is no way to drive or fly to Cat Island. You also have the option to stay overnight on the island thanks to the residents of Cat Island who have set up accommodations for visitors. These hostels are shaped just like cats, which makes them easy to identify for visitors to the island.

9.     Cat Cafes
Throughout Japan

One of the main attractions for locals to visit in Japan is Cat Cafes. These cafes are small establishments that charge by the hour for people wanting to visit with the cats.The first Cat Cafe opened around 2006, and today there are over 79 Cat Cafes in Japan. Rates at the cafes vary from $7 to $10 per hour, and they increase on weekends and holidays.

The cats are treated very well, and most cafes will not let you pick up a cat, unless the cat voluntarily decides to jump on your lap. Visitors must follow rules at the cafe very closely, including washing your hands before and after visiting with the cats, removing shoes, and not taking pictures with a flash. In addition to cats, the cafes also offer visitors food and drink, computers, books, and video games.

10.     Kuching Cat Museum
Bukit Siol, Kuching, Malaysia

Kuching (translated to “The Cat City”) in Malaysia is home to one of the largest cat themed museums in the world. In 1993, Kuching erected the museum and dozens of cat statues around the city to celebrate the city’s name, and the importance of cats in the city.

The Kuching museum is 1,035.9 Square Metres, and is located on a hill overlooking the city. The museum features all sorts of cat memorabilia and historic feline artefacts. There are over 2,000 feline related items in the museum, with the main theme of the display focusing on the history of the feline and various world beliefs surrounding cats.

Have you ever been to one or more of these cat themed destinations? Did we forget to list your favourite cat themed destination? Be sure to leave your feedback in the comments section below! We’d love to hear it.

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