Cat Vacation: Vacation Destinations for Cat Lovers
By Bailee Noella March 19, 2019
Want to get away but don’t want to miss out on the chance to indulge your love of cats? Don’t fret: There are plenty of hot vacation spots around the globe for feline aficionados. From quirky cat museums to boats full of rescued strays, these locations are sure to spark the interest of every cat lover. Get your cat fix all over the world with these tourist destinations!
Ernest Hemingway’s Home (Florida)
Everyone knows Ernest Hemingway was a gifted and influential author. What you may not know, however, is that he was also an enthusiast of Polydactyl cats, or cats that are born with more than the normal number of toes. After receiving a six-toed kitten named Snow White as a gift from a ship captain, he grew fond of Polydactyls. Many people even refer to them as “Hemingway cats” in his honor. His property in Key West, which was designated a U.S. Historic Landmark in 1968, is now home to roughly 40 cats, some of which are descendants of Ernest’s own beloved Snow White. You’re sure to see plenty of six-toed felines as you take an educational tour through the legend’s home, stopping outside to view the magnificent, lush gardens and the luxurious in-ground pool.
Festival of the Cats (Belgium)
If you’re looking to celebrate our feline friends with thousands of other excited participants, look no further than the Festival of the Cats! A popular tourist attraction and tradition in Ypres, this parade is full of marching bands, dancers, and elaborate floats. Many people dress up in medieval attire or don costumes of mice, witches, and, of course, cats. Shops are filled with cat-themed products and all types of food are sold in the shape of felines in celebration. A jester tosses plush toy cats from a bell tower into the eager crowd below, and those who catch one get to make a wish.
The Supreme Cat Show (United Kingdom)
There’s no finer place to appreciate a wide variety of cats, both purebred and mixed breed alike than The Supreme Cat Show held every year in Birmingham. More than 800 cats are put on exhibition in pens decorated lovingly by their owners based on the given theme of the year. Aside from the competition judging, visitors can check out vendors selling cat food, toys, accessories, and more. Other stalls offer information on the many different cat breeds featured in the show. It’s the perfect opportunity to brush up on your feline knowledge and see more cats and kittens than you could ever dream of!
National Tiger Sanctuary (Missouri)
When our lovable domestic cats are curled up in our laps before the fireplace, it’s easy to forget who they share their family tree with: large, ferocious predators that stalk skillfully in the wild. You can connect with your cat’s larger cousins at the National Tiger Sanctuary in Missouri. Here you get a chance to see the extraordinary beauty of tigers, lions, and other big cats up close and personal. You even get the once in a lifetime opportunity to feed them yourself! The most heartwarming part of the experience, however, is knowing that the owners and staff of the sanctuary are true cat lovers themselves. All of the exotic animals here are rescued from the circus industry, the pet trade, and breeding. Knowing that they take such good care of their animals, it's easy to enjoy your visit.
Hello Kitty Theme Park (Japan)
Felines have had a massive impact on culture worldwide. From the ancient Egyptians worshipping them as gods to their trendy presence on the Internet, it’s no wonder Hello Kitty became such a magnificent hit across the globe. If you’re a fan of the adorable 70s cartoon character, you’ll want to pay a visit to the Hello Kitty theme park in Tokyo. Known as Sanrio Puroland, you won’t find a moment of boredom amongst the lively musicals, firework displays, exciting rides, and themed restaurants. Die-hard fans will want to take a look at the expansive gift shop and take a tour through the characters’ homes!
Art gurus will appreciate this one: an entire museum dedicated to artwork of cats! Located in Amsterdam, the museum’s founder, Bob Meijer, established KattenKabinet in commemoration of his own cat named John Pierpont Morgan. For his birthdays, Morgan would get his portrait painted. One year he even modeled for a bronze sculpture and replaced George Washington on the dollar bill! Today, Meijer, his family, and five cats inhabit the home, which was built in 1667. It is full of paintings and sculptures by the likes of Pablo Picasso and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. The pieces are presented very seriously in true baroque style, and the comedic effect it has is sure to make you crack a smile!
De Poezenboot: The Catboat (Netherlands)
If you happen to make your way to Amsterdam to drop by KattenKabinet, be sure to make time on your itinerary to also see the only animal sanctuary that floats! Floating in Amsterdam’s spectacular canal belt, the Catboat has been housing stray cats since 1968. Mrs. v. Weelde founded the Catboat after she started rescuing kittens and soon found her home could not fit all of them. She decided to purchase houseboats and strip their interiors to make them suitable for their grateful feline inhabitants. Entrance is free for visitors who want to come in and meet the countless cats, but donations are very appreciated. You can even financially adopt one of the cats to help support them and receive updates on “your cat” every December!
Looking for something a little closer to home? See if you can find a local cat café or a cat yoga session to join! Regardless of whether you travel overseas or stay close to home to embark on your journey of cat hot spots, beware: You may find yourself searching for more to fuel your cat obsession! As Ernest Hemingway once said, “One cat just leads to another.”