If you're the kind of person whose idea of paradise is a land where cats rule, then you should probably pack your things up and relocate to one of these 10 kitten-centric cities. From Korean cat cafes to cat museums, here are the top 10 cat cities in the world.
In Malay, Kuching literally translates to "Cat City." But if you didn’t know the language, you could still probably just tell by the gigantic cat statues scattered across town. And if that’s not enough of an indication, perhaps the fact that they have their own Cat Museum is proof that this city is for cat lovers. Kuching’s Cat Museum is a huge tourist attraction and houses over 2,000 artifacts (like an Egyptian mummified cat) and a research center for cat-based religions.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
It’s official. You don’t have to fly all the way to Asia to sip tea among your feline friends. Courtney Hatt and David Braginsky plan to open KitCafe in San Francisco in summer 2014. Pussycat-loving patrons will be able to enjoy gourmet teas as cats from a San Francisco shelter roam the premise. Rest assured, the tea prep is in an entirely separate room. The cafe's main priority is to practice healthy routines and create a clean, safe haven for their furry friends.
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
Of course, if you still feel like traveling across the globe to get the authentic cat cafe experience, Seoul, South Korea, is the place to go. Cat cafes have been popping up all over the capital for the last five years, giving customers an entirely different experience than their average coffee shop. One of the most popular cafes is Cat’s Attic, a chain found throughout the country. Here, customers can escape the hardships of the day and drink coffee while cuddling with precious purebred and adopted kitties.
Kuchlachev’s Cat Theater in Moscow is the world’s only theater where cats take center stage. Kitten acrobats and feline performers have been tight rope walking, pole jumping and rinding horses since 1990. After taking a hiatus, the show reopened last year. And this time around, the cats are more talented than ever. Over 120 performers are part of the troupe, and while some enjoy the limelight, others prefer hanging out offstage, napping in the back.
Every third year on the second Sunday of May, the entire city of Ypres, Belgium, gathers for the Kattenstoet — the "Festival of Cats." Although the celebration first began in the Middle Ages, where it was rooted in the inhumane practice of tossing cats, the city now celebrates the history and tradition of felines. Festival-goers take part in floats, music, stilt walkers and costumes — all cat-themed, of course.
Imagine yourself on an island of cats. Sounds like heaven, right? What if we told you that place actually exists? Welcome to Tashirojima, Japan, also known as "Cat Island." Here, cats outnumber people. Citizens believe that their feline residents represent luck and good fortune, so the four-legged animals are treated like royalty. Although keeping a cat as a “pet” is considered inappropriate, all of the island’s cat inhabitants are well-fed and cared for.
Japan may have a cat island, but Taiwan’s got a cat village. It all began not too long ago in 2008 when a cat lover organized a team of volunteers to help the stray cat problem. Soon, cat-loving visitors flocked to the city to take photos of the kitten residents. Houtong currently has over 100 felines roaming the streets freely. Thanks to these cats, the once-dilapidated mining town is now a booming tourist spot.
KEY WEST, FLORIDA
Although we can’t speak for all of Key West, we think the cats at Ernest Hemingway’s home and museum are mascots enough for the city itself. There are over 50 polydactyl (six-toed) cats that live on the Hemingway grounds, roaming the Key West island. It all began when Hemingway was given a white six-toed cat by a ship’s captain. It mated with another cat and now the DNA has spread to the rest of the cats on the island. From calicos and tabbies to tortoise shell and black cats, visitors get the chance to meet “Hemingway’s cats.” They are all named after famous people, a tradition that started with Hemingway himself. (Hemingway Home)
You won’t find cats living in a normal shelter in Amsterdam. Here, kittens find safe haven on the Cat Boat (aka De Poezenboot), the world’s only animal sanctuary that floats. Since 1966, stray and abandoned cats haves roamed freely on the Cat Boat, which overlooks the city’s picturesque canal belt. Not only do these felines feel safe and well-fed, they also have one of the best living situations of all their kitten pals around the world. Who wouldn’t want to wake up to a scenic water view? Be sure to stop by and visit the next time you take a trip to the Netherlands. (Poezenboot)
Next: Best U.S. Cities for Dogs
There are countless cat shows that celebrate exotic cats and expensive purebreds, but the Average Joe Cat Show in the Pacific Northwest is all about putting the spotlight on the normal cats in our lives. The people in the area of Arlington, Wash., thought it was time to give their house cats a chance to shine, so they established this show where dozens of cats will compete in categories like “Most Impressive Ear Hair” and “Loudest Purr." The event also features adoptable kitties from ten Puget Sound shelters and rescue groups. Sounds like our kind of show!