8 Vacation Destinations for Cat Lovers September 14 2018
We've compiled a list of some of the best cat-centric stops around the world, ranging from the US to Japan. These vacation destinations are guaranteed to have cat lovers purring like kittens!
1. Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum, Key West, Florida
This historical house is an ideal destination for literary ailurophiles. Located on the small island of Key West, this museum was once home to the famed author, Ernest Hemingway. The Hemingway Home and Museum is now home to approximately 40-50 cats, the majority of them polydactyl (having more than five toes.) The polydactyl cats are likely descended from Hemingway's original six-toed cat, Snow White, who was gifted to him by a ship's captain. The beautiful limestone house is a wonderfully preserved slice of history, even featuring Key West's first underground pool.
2. Temari no Ouchi Cat Cafe, Japan
Cat cafes are exactly what they sound like: heaven for cat lovers. And tucked away in the temple-dotted Kichijoji district of Tokyo is Temari No Ouchi, a cat café that looks like it belongs in a Studio Ghibli movie. Inspired by the concept of "nekko no mori", literally meaning "cat forest", Temari no Ouchi gives cafe guests a sense that they are just visitors to this feline fantasy world.
3. Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, Rome
Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary lies in the heart of Rome itself, a protected area home to hundreds of free-roaming cats originally tended by “gattare” (local cat ladies). History buffs might know this square by name: the ruins these cats call home are none other than the site where Julius Caesar was assassinated. The cats spend their days sheltered amongst the oldest temples in Rome (400-300 BC), and can be found cat napping on the foot of an emperor’s statue or grooming themselves on the ruins of ancient pillars. Volunteers help care for the cats 7 days a week, and many of the cats are available for adoption.
4. Cat House on The Kings
Cat House on The Kings might seem like an ordinary house at first glance. But it’s home to the biggest no-kill, no-cage cat sanctuary in the United States. This cat sanctuary has about 700 cats roaming around at any one point and is home to the ultimate "Crazy Cat Lady" herself, Lynea Lattanzio, the sanctuary's founder. The sanctuary is available for tours and you can also involve yourself in the lives of the cats through webcams, sponsorship, gifts, donations and even participating in their foster cat program. And, of course, you can take a cat home yourself if you meet their adoption criteria!
5. Ainoshima Island, Japan
Cats outnumber the human residents on Ainoshima Island: in fact, at any given time there are only about 15-20 human residents on the island while the cats number nearly 120. That’s nearly 6 times the human population! While there is no overnight accommodation, if you’re in the mood for a cat-filled day trip this might be right up your alley (cat). In the past, the fishermen relied on ship cats to control the rodent population, which eventually resulted in the cats settling on and populating the island.
6. Tashiro-Jima Island, Japan
Another one of Japan’s famed cat Island, Tashiro-jima is a small island off the mainland of Japan. Its population is small, with only around 100 human residents, but it is truly a “cat island” complete with shrines to the feline residents and cat-shaped architecture. The cats don’t quite outnumber the humans on this cat island, but they still number in the hundreds. Islanders originally raised silkworms and used cats to control the rodent population; local fishermen would feed the cats that hung around the inns, believing that caring for the cats would bring them good luck and fortune.
7. Big Cat Rescue, Tampa, FL
Located on 55 acres in north Tampa, Big Cat Rescue is an up-close (but hands-off) big cat sanctuary that’s home to 14 species including tigers, lions, leopards, ocelots, lynxes, cougars, and other—often endangered—big cats. Visitors can take guided tours through the sanctuary, learning about the cats’ daily lives, their species, and the problems they face today. For those who can’t visit, there are live, interactive webcams throughout the sanctuary.
Founded in 1992, by Carole Baskin, Big Cat Rescue has grown to be the world’s largest accredited sanctuary dedicated to big cats, with more than 100 animals that have been abandoned or abused by their previous owners or retired from circuses. Big Cat Rescue also features a kitten foster program where volunteers foster cats (of the domestic kind) from their local shelter until they’re ready to be adopted.
8. Gotokuji Temple, Japan
Maneki-neko, aka the “waving cat” or “Lucky Cat” has its very own temple in Japan, just one short train ride away from Tokyo. This Buddhist temple is populated with thousands of happy Maneki-neko figurines of all shapes and sizes, beckoning visitors and promising to bring them good luck. There might not be actual cats, but these smiling ceramic kitties make for one great Instagram photo.