If you like to travel and you’re a cat lover, be sure to visit these great tourist destinations. People love cats all over the world, and you won’t have any problem finding catcentric places to visit on almost every continent. Check out our Cat Lover’s Bucket List that follows:
- Ypres Cat Festival
The Ypres Cat Festival takes place on the second Sunday of May to commemorate a rather gruesome Middle Ages activity of throwing cats from the town belfry. Cats were kept in the belfry to keep the rodent population in check because they would destroy the cotton that was kept there. Once the cotton was processed, there was no more need for the cats, and thus, they were cruelly thrown out of the belfry. Belgians paint their faces and wear costumes to celebrate all things feline in the annual Kattenstoet. Today cats are still thrown from the belfry, but they are thankfully just stuffed toys. A parade is held as well that features cat like floats.
- Island of Syros
This Greek island is a sanctuary for about 65 cats who are cared for by the local islanders. The cats are able to roam all over the island and are available for adoption. Definitely a great vacation spot for cat lovers.
- Largo di Torre Argentina, Rome
The main historical significance of the Largo di Torre Argentina is that it is the place where Brutus murdered Julius Caesar in 44 AD. However, cat lovers will be happy to know that cats have sought sanctuary here since 1929 when the site was first excavated by archaeologists. These cats are cared for with the permanent support of international animal welfare groups such as the Anglo-Italian Society for the Protection of Animals and the Friends of Roman Cats. Both groups provide facilities for neutering and distance adoption. For more information, visit romecats.com.
- Aoshima Island
Aoshima is Japan’s fourth largest island and is nicknamed ‘Cat Island’ because of its hundreds of cats that live there. Brought to the island years ago to stem the increase in the rodent population, the cats have increased their own numbers unfettered. The island cats are by no means tame, but they kindly pose for tourist photos and don’t mind being petted when in the mood.
- Tashirojima Island
Another island in the Japanese archipelago that is home to a large feline population is Tashirojima Island. This island is lovingly called Cat Heaven Island. Much like the cats on Aoshima Island, these cats were brought to help control rats and mice that would destroy the silkworm farms. Today those people remaining on the island feed and take care of the feral cats believing that they will bring them good luck and prosperity. Tourists who visit the island are met by the hungry cats at the ferry docks. Be sure to take cat treats with you!
- Japan’s Cat Cafes
There are over 150 cat cafes in Japan’s major towns and cities. Called Neko cafes, they serve coffee and cake and are home to cats who roam around freely waiting to be fawned over by guests. Some are so popular that you’ll need to book your visit before you go.
This city is known as Cat City and is absolutely filled with cat monuments, cat street art, and cat themed architecture. The city also features a cat themed museum.
- The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Cats have been present in the Hermitage Museum since 1745 when they were brought in to rid it of mice and rodents. These days the cats are well taken care of by a team of security guards and even their own press secretary. The cats live underground in the basement of the museum, but frequently make forays into the museum upper floors.
- Ko Maeo, Cat Island
Tourists are greeted on Samila Beach in Hat Yai by two huge statues, one of a cat, the other of a rat that mark the two islets of Ko Nu, Rat Island and Ko Maeo, Cat Island. Thai legend states that a dog, cat and mouse onboard a Chinese sampan stole a magical crystal from the sampan’s owner. They unsuccessfully tried to swim ashore only to drown. The cat and rat were turned into two islands and the dog who died on shore became the hill known as Khao Tang Kuan. The much sought after crystal became the white sands of the beach known as Hat Sai Kaco (Glass Sand Beach).
- Katten Kabinet, Amsterdam
Founded by a wealthy Dutch man in 1990, this museum was created to preserve the memory of his much beloved cat Tom. Filled with cat themed works of artwork, posters and statues as well as a menagerie of cats, this is a must visit.
- De Poezenboot, The Catboat
The Poezenboot is an animal sanctuary located on a boat. The boat sits on one of the canals in the city. Henriette van Weelde founded the sanctuary in 1966 and is now today a charity which houses up to fifty cats at a time. Tourists are welcome to visit the cats onboard.
- Mann Cat Sanctuary
Located on the Isle of Mann, this sanctuary is home to unwanted disabled and abused cats. Founded in 1996, it offers these disadvantaged animals six acres of land to roam freely. Visit the Mann Cat Sanctuary website for more information.
- American Museum of the House Cat, Sylva, North Carolina
This museum houses perhaps America’s largest collection of cat memorabilia amassed by Dr. Harold Sims, an ardent cat lover. Items include toys, clocks, banks, dolls, advertising illustrations, fine art, folk art, beer steins, music boxes, carnival games, jewelry, pottery, puppets, and Halloween paraphernalia. Proceeds from the museum go to fund Sims’ no kill, cage free, shelter which has taken in more than 4,000 needy cats over the years. Definitely on my Cat Lover’s Bucket List!
- CatCon World Wide, Pasadena, California
CatCon is a convention held yearly that has it all: cat-themed items for sale, cat art, famous cat meet and greets, adoptable cats, cat treats, cat products as well as celebrities that love cats. Proceeds go to cat related non-profits.
- Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West, Florida
The famous author was also a cat lover. Hemingway’s cats are special in that they are polydactyls that have 6 toes all of whom are descendants of his cat named Snow White. His home is now a sanctuary for approximately 50 of Snow White’s descendants. Proceeds from the museum and gift shop go to provide food and care for these lovely kitties.
- Feline Historical Museum, Alliance, Ohio
Operated by the Cat Fancier’s Association, this non-profit museum is dedicated to the conservation of cat history. Memorabilia housed in the museum is mostly donated. The gift shop carries calendars, cat art, cat dolls, cat figurines, cat books and many other items for cat lovers.
So pack your bags and start crossing off destinations on your Cat Lover’s Bucket List .