We all need a vacation sometimes, and usually we can’t take our cats with us. The good news is, you can find cats tucked into pretty much every corner of the world. If you’re looking for an amazing destination that will satisfy your feline fix, check out our list of the 12 best vacation spots for cat people. Bon voyage—or should we say, meowdios!
Of all the best vacation spots for cat people, Japan is the only entire country that we’re recommending. That’s because it’s too difficult to narrow down just one place in Japan that pays homage to felines. Here are a few of the top spots for ailurophiles:
- Tashirojima “Cat Island”—That’s right: a whole island for cats. Here the cats greatly outnumber the people, and no dogs are allowed. Although the cats are mostly feral, they are well-fed and cared for. Japan actually has several cat islands.
- Gotokuji Temple—See thousands of Maneki Neko “lucky cat” figurines in this ancient sacred space.
- Sanrio Puroland theme park—This indoor theme park is dedicated to Hello Kitty and other Sanrio friends.
- Cat cafes in Tokyo—Tokyo is world-famous for its cat cafes, including Cateriam, Temari no Ouchi, and Neko no Mise.
- Tama Museum at Kishi Station—Honor Tama, the calico station master that greeted passengers with her gold name tag and adorable station master’s hat.
Ever since the award-winning Turkish documentary Kedi chronicled this ancient city through the eyes of its stray felines, Istanbul is well-known as the City of Cats. How many cats are in Istanbul? Estimates run wild, with some claiming 30,000 and others up to 150,000! Residents don’t formally adopt the cats, but care for them as a large community network. You might even consider staying at the Stray Cat Hostel (complete with friendly strays) while you visit!
Remember that time you didn’t get your dream job looking after a cat sanctuary on a beautiful, remote Greek island? Well, you can still visit Syros, Greece, and see what could’ve been. In addition to visiting God’s Little People Cat Rescue, you can enjoy one of the best vacation spots for an authentic, less-crowded Greek experience with beaches, port towns, and sweeping views.
Houtong Cat Village in Taiwan
Near Taipei sits a former coal mining village that is now home to more than 200 cats. Find them “lounging in flower pots, loafing on shelves, padding up steps, jumping off roofs and spread out, sleeping, over stalls of kitty-themed souvenirs,” according to Lonely Planet. The kitties are said to be good-natured and friendly, and a small volunteer team with veterinary help looks after them.
Largo di Torre Argentina in Rome
In the heart of Rome sits Largo di Torre Argentina, a square with the ruins of four Roman temples and the remains of Pompey’s Theatre. The square also serves as a sanctuary for Rome’s abundant stray cat population. Today, approximately 150 felines find shelter among the ruins, and are fed, cleaned, and looked after seven days a week by volunteers.
Parque Kennedy in Lima, Peru
Parque Kennedy, aka “Cats Park,” sits in the middle of Lima’s affluent Miraflores neighborhood. Several hundred cats have called the park home for decades, although no one knows how it began. A best guess is priests from the nearby church introduced cats for plague control, and their population grew from there. Now the church and the Feline Protection Volunteer Group make sure the cats are well-fed and medically treated.
Kuching literally means “Cat City” in Malay—a sure sign that it’s one of the best vacation spots for cat people. Not only is Kuching home to numerous strays, but it also features gigantic cat statues, cat carvings, and the Cat Museum—complete with a gaping cat-mouth entry. This museum boasts more than 2,000 artifacts, including an Egyptian mummified cat, and a research center for cat-based religions and cat history.
Yes, there is more to Amsterdam than the Red Light District! First, check out KattenKabinet “Cat Cabinet” art museum, which resides in a 15th-century mansion on the Herengracht canal. Mental Floss reports that you’ll find “original works by greats like Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Rembrandt—all of which depict cats, and are guarded by a bevy of in-house felines.” Then make your way to De Poezenboot, the Catboat, where you’ll find a houseboat sanctuary for cats and other animals.
The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia
A colony of 50+ felines known as the Hermitage cats lives in the basement of the State Hermitage Museum—formally the Winter Palace, and now the second-largest art museum in the world. Their descendants were brought to the Winter Palace in the 18th century for pest control. Now the Hermitage cats are jokingly referred to as “movable art,” and you can find them strolling the palace courtyard when weather cooperates!
The medieval coastal town of Kotor boasts more than just cobblestone streets and gorgeous views. Hundreds of stray cats call the city home, and are adored by locals and visitors alike. Folklore says that Montenegrin people believe cats saved the town of Kotor by protecting it from mice, rats, and snakes during turbulent World War I times.
Hemingway Home in the Florida Keys
The only U.S. pick for the best vacation spots for cat people once belonged to well-known ailurophile Ernest Hemingway. The author collected polydactyl cats at his home in the Florida Keys, which now serves as a museum. All over the estate you’ll find descendants of Hemingway’s original six-toed cats sunning themselves and indifferently receiving the adoration of tourists.
Finally—how do we not include the cradle of cat civilization? In Giza you’ll find the infamous Sphinx, cat mummies, the cult of Bastet, and the descendants of feline royalty roaming the streets. Nowhere in the world will you feel more connected to the ancient power of the feline spirit! Be sure to check out the Cairo-based Egyptian Mau Rescue Organization, as well.
Which of these best vacation spots is first on your list?