Monday, July 1, 2019

The Purrfect 10: Vacation Destinations for Cat Lovers

We love reading and researching anything and everything about cats, and wanted to find a fun and unique way to share the interesting facts we learn with you! Since top 10 lists are very popular in the blogosphere, we created The Purrfect 10 as a way to present 10 educational or fascinating tidbits about a wide variety of cat-related topics, everything from health issues to cat breeds to famous felines.


The height of summer travel season is upon us, as millions take to the roads, skies and rails for fun family vacations. For those of us whose lives revolve around our cats, the only down side to these trips is leaving our fur babies at home, so we seek out cat-related destinations. This month's Purrfect 10 features a variety of locations to add to your bucket list of places to visit...

United States Destinations

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum: The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum in Key West is just as famous for its feline residents as it is for its former owner. Hemingway’s passion for 6-toed cats began in the 1930s when Snow White was given to him as a gift from a sea captain. Sailors favored polydactyl cats, believing they brought good luck and safe passage. To this day, many of Snow White’s descendants roam the grounds of Hemingway Home, with more than 50 currently residing on the property. About half of the cats have six toes, but all carry the polydactyl gene.

Cat World at Utah's Best Friends Animal Sanctuary: More than 700 cats live at Cat World, a village of 11 buildings that provide cats with indoor luxuries, enclosed catios, and hidey-holes for privacy. Specialized accommodations for cats with various needs (incontinent, FIV, neurological disorders, leukemia) allow them to live a life of dignity with all their medical needs met, not to mention loads of love and attention thanks to a staff of 40 caretakers. Many will be adopted, but those that aren't have a home for life at Cat World.


Cat'N Around Catskill: A summer-long outdoor art exhibit featuring painted fiberglass cats lining Historic Main Street in Catskill, New York. The cats stay in place through Labor Day, and later in September they are auctioned off. Currently in its 13th year, the event started as a way to bring attention to local businesses and raise money for charity, but has become a huge tourist attraction and unique platform for artists to display their creativity.

New York City’s Algonquin Hotel: The tradition of the Algonquin Cat dates back to the early 1920’s. The hotel’s first cat, Billy, lived in the hotel during the famed Round Table of the 1920’s. In 1933, two days after Billy passed away a stray cat wandered into the hotel looking for shelter. He was immediately welcomed to stay and named Rusty. Frequent guest John Barrymore felt this name was too common for a cat residing in such a prestigious hotel. Rusty was renamed Hamlet in honor of Barrymore’s greatest stage role. Over the years, the hotel has had eight Hamlets and three cats named Matilda. The current Hamlet has a full-time job as hotel ambassador, and each summer he stars in the Algonquin’s annual Cat Fashion Show, which raises money for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.


American Museum of the House Cat: Located in Sylva, North Carolina, this museum is the private collection of Dr. Harold Sims – aka CatMan2 – and it’s likely America’s largest collection of house cat memorabilia. Items displayed in the museum include cat-centric toys, clocks, banks, dolls, advertising illustrations, animation cells, fine art, folk art, thrift store art, beer steins, music boxes, carnival games, carousel animals, jewelry, pottery, puppets, automatons, and Halloween knick-knacks. Proceeds fund Dr. Sims Catman2 Shelter, Western North Carolina’s largest no kill, cage free, open concept cats-only shelter, which has taken in and adopted over 4,000 cats through the years.

International Destinations

De Poezenboot: The Catboat: A world-famous tourist attraction in Amsterdam, the Catboat is the only animal sanctuary that literally floats. Founded in 1966 by Henriette van Weelde as a refuge for stray and abandoned cats, De Poezenboot is now an official charity housing up to 50 cats at once. Cats are available for adoption, but tourists are also welcome to come on board for a “kitty fix.” There’s no entrance fee, but donations are welcome and go towards the care of the cats.

Festival of the Cats Parade: Held triennially on the second Sunday of May since 1955, the Kattenstoet (“Festival of the Cats”) is a parade in Ypres, Belgium, devoted to cats. Its origins come from the horrific Middle Ages tradition of throwing cats from the highest tower to the town square below in order to kill “evil spirits.” Thankfully, today it’s plush cats that are thrown down to the crowd, and whoever catches one gets to make a wish. Thousands of cat lovers from around the globe attend the festival dressed as felines, witches, mice, or townspeople from ages past to enjoy floats, giant cats, music, theater and dance groups.


Tashirojima (Cat Island): An island where the cat population is now larger than the human population? Sign me up for a one-way ticket! Cat Island exists due to the large stray cat population that thrives as a result of the belief that felines represent luck and good fortune, and doubly so if you feed and care for them. Locals even give credit to the cats for the island's survival during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami! Because of this they are treated like kings by the island’s fewer than 100 remaining residents even though most are considered feral. There’s even a small shrine on the island to honor a cat that was accidentally killed by fishermen centuries ago. Not surprisingly, for the cats’ protection no dogs are allowed.

Taiwan’s Houtong Cat Village: Once a thriving mining town, the area began to decline as the coal mining industry began to die out. In 2008 a local cat lover started posting pictures of the village's stray cats online, creating an overwhelming response from other cat lovers around the nation. Houtong became a center for cat lovers as word spread, and the number of cats living there increased, reviving a declining village and transforming it into a tourist destination. Drivers entering the town are greeted with a sign that reads " A lot of stray cats here. Drive slowly," and a special bridge has been constructed above the busy railway, to allow safe passage for the cats. Cat-related shops, cafes and restaurants cater to the village's estimated one million visitors per year.

Sanrio Puroland : Hello Kitty Theme Park in Tokyo: An indoor theme park run by the Sanrio company, creators of Hello Kitty, hosting various musicals, restaurants, attractions, parades, fireworks and theme rides. The park is now one of Japan's most popular attractions, where tourists can visit the homes of beloved Sanrio characters and shop at an extensive gift shop selling Sanrio merchandise.


Have you ever gone on a cat-themed vacation?

19 comments:

Lone Star Cats said...

My momma wants to go to the Hemingway House.

Fr. Tom Fishworthy said...

I know the housekeeper would love to go to where they throw the stuffed cats down so she could catch one..(and here I thought I was enough!! humph!) Great list and definitely places to consider! - Tom x

The Island Cats said...

We love that there are so many places for cat lovers. The mom wants to visit them all.

Brian said...

The Mom and Dad have been to the Hemingway House but the others sound really cool too!

Patricia T said...

Great info, Melissa! I would love to visit Hemingway House.

Katie Isabella said...

I wish I could go to any or all of them.The one in NC is so far from Charlotte where I go to see my son that I doubt he will feel like taking us to Sylvia. Maybe he will. I have so little time with him there that I won't just head out on my own.

Catscue Cat Mom said...

That's a good bucket list for me, thanks Melissa!

Eastside Cats said...

Yes, I've had several cat-themed vacations, and am going on another one later this month! Although, The Eastside Cats wonder why I want to go away to visit cats, when I could just stay at home!

Timmy Tomcat said...

Dad was at Hemingway House way back when and got his kitty fix while Angel Stinker stayed home on patrol. He wants to go to Cattin around the Catskills and Best Friends who we support. Great post

Summer at sparklecat.com said...

My human says that one of these days, we are BOTH going to stay at the Algonquin!

World of Animals, Inc said...

Hey Mudpie. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful spots for cat lovers. A friend of ours stayed at New York City’s Algonquin Hotel. I have to ask them again if they remember seeing Hamlet. Great post. Have a great rest of your week.
World of Animals

pilch92 said...

I have stayed at The Algonquin and met Matilda, she has since passed :( I would like to go to the Catskills.

Mickey's Musings said...

WOW!! We loved your Sunday selfie Mudpie!!!!!!!
Mum has not gone to a cat themed place but some places with cats ;)
WE think she should be happy with us!
Purrs Georgia,Julie and JJ

Chirpy Cats said...

I want to go to the Hemmingway House, and the Japanese cat island, and the catboat! I've never been on a cat-themed vacation but when I do go on vacation I end up going to places where there are cats!
Great top 10!

Cathy Keisha said...

Whoa! I came here looking for someone named Twitty? But he's not here.

The only place TW has ever been was the Algonquin Hotel and she never saw any cats. That was about a hunnert years ago when her office had their Christmas party at there.

Hairballsandhissyfits.com said...

I just got back from Peru but your roundup made me want to hit the road again!

Momma Kat and Her Bear Cat said...

My feelings on Hemingway are hit or miss - but his love of cats is one of his more endearing qualities. When I was a kid, I loved the cat house at Purina Farms. Essentially, it's a vertical tower with a staircase that spirals around the interior. There are many floors and one can spend endless hours watching the kitty residents!

meowmeowmans said...

I've been to the Algonquin, but sure would like to go to all those other awesome cat locations, too!

The Menagerie Mom said...

If I ever plan a vacation, I hope to visit one of these places and meet some kitties!