Top Destinations for Cat Lovers on Vacation
For most tourists, pets are either left at home in the care of a friend or dropped off at a kennel while they're traveling. Any chance of getting friendly with another pet during their trip will usually be rare. However, there are places around the world that are starting to appeal to the niche market of pet owners—particularly to cat lovers. Here are 3 places where tourists can enjoy some feline company.
Le Café des Chats (Paris)
This café in the Marais district has quickly become a popular destination for locals and tourists with a feline affection. Café owner Margaux Gandelon has taken the basic concept of a tea room and refashioned it into a comfortable atmosphere for all creatures. A dozen cats can be found lounging on chairs or rubbing up against customers while they enjoy a fine cup of green tea and the 15th-century architecture. Visitors are usually briefed when they enter on how to treat the resident cats and keep the environment relaxed. It's expected that a second branch of the Café des Chats will open up elsewhere in France.
Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary (Rome)
Largo di Torre Argentina is a public square in Rome, home to the ancient ruins of Roman temples and Pompey's Theatre. Inside this historical find is an unexpected treat, the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. Here, some 250 different breeds of local cats have been collected into a no-kill shelter staffed by volunteers. The sanctuary is open from noon to 6 p.m. for visits and adoption. However, the Torre Argentina shelter has recently received a notice to close due to public health concerns, so cat lovers interested in stopping off in Rome should first check with the local authorities on the shelter's current status.
Cat Café Nekokaigi (Kyoto)
Stray cats are a major issue in Japan, but they're also how the first cat café in Kyoto got its start. Mayuko Horii provided a safe public space for 13 stray kittens, who were all adopted when they were two months old. Visitors pay 800 yen (or $8) an hour to pet and play with the cats, who roam freely throughout the café. The café allows only 15 visitors inside at a time. Drinks are also available at a reasonable price. Unlike other cat sanctuaries, the felines in Nekokaigi are not available for adoption. However, the success of this establishment has led to the start of five other cat cafés in Kyoto and inspired similar places around the world.