Obviously, kittens have already conquered Youtube, and cats have come to dominate the meme-sphere with Nyan Cat, Keyboard Cat and Kitler (Nyein!) So it was only a matter of time before those evil cute little buggers started taking over the real world.
Here are some of the many places around the globe where cats already rule.
When it first started as a coal mining town, no one in Houtong a) ever anticipated the coal industry would collapse or b) that their village would then be taken over cats. After a cat lover started looking after the strays and abandoned cats in the area and a volunteer movement uploaded images of them online, the swooning public began making Houtong a tourist destination. To visit the town, travel to Ruifang station, cross the street next to the Wellcome supermarket and take Bus 808 or F808 – it’s a mere 7 minutes to Houtong.
Aoshima Cat Island
People first came 380 years ago from Hyogo prefecture to fish for sardines around Aoshima. The cats that followed were meant to control the mice chewing through the nets, but have long since multiplied, dramatically. As the human population fell over the decades, the number of cats boomed – now there are six times as many cats as people, a high fur density for an island of just 0.5 square kilometers (smaller than Bedok Reservoir). If you’re planning to visit, you can expect to see 20 to 30 fellow cat tourists on any given day, and what seems like a carpet of cats everywhere you look. To visit, take a ferry from Nagahama port in Ozu city to the pier on Aoshima where the cats give tourists a rousing welcome.
The cat sanctuary on the Hawaiian island of Lanai is a large open air, “free range” place with huts and trees where cats can climb and play freely. Originally conceived as a way to keep feral and stray cats away from the island’s endangered bird species, it now boasts about 495 cats that visitors can hang out with several hours a day. The felines there can also be adopted, while those who aren’t can live out their days in this feline paradise. The sanctuary can be reached via a 5-minute drive from Lanai Airport.
The Catboat (or De Poezenboot) is the world’s only floating animal sanctuary. Located in Amsterdam’s beautiful canal belt, it welcomes stray and abandoned cats and rehouses 250-300 cats a year. It all started when founder Henriette van Weelde took in a feline family sheltering under a tree near her home. As the number of cats grew, till her home and garden were bursting with cats. To tackle this cat-astrophe, a houseboat was bought, and the cats found a new home on the canal. The first boat filled up after just 3 years, and now two of them provide shelter to the community’s stray cats. If you are in Amsterdam and would like to volunteer, you can find them at The Catboat in Amsterdam.
So next time you’re looking to bathe in kitty cuteness, you know where to go.