Feline fanatics can have their own cat-centric holidays thanks to Lonely Planet’s new feline-friendly travel category. Hew are some
destinations for the travelers craving cat company. From a feline sunbather in the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, to a Japanese cat cafe, the
list drives you to get offline and on the road.
The Cat Boat, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam is home to the Poezenboot (Cat Boat), a floating shelter for scores of stray and abandoned cats. Docked along the Singel canal, the Poezenboot welcomes meowser-mad visitors, volunteers and those looking to adopt their own sailor cat.
Cat City, Kuching, Borneo
Gigantic cat statues dot the landscape, hawkers flog cat carvings in local bazaars, and the Cat Museum – enter through the gaping cat mouth – is home to an astonishing 2000 artefacts (including an Egyptian mummified cat) and a research centre for cat-based religions and cat history.
Puss patrol, Hermitage, Russia
The Hermitage cats are the guardians of the palace’s treasures and ratters extraordinaire. More than 50 cats make up the ‘feline corps’;
Visitors can fuss over the great guards in the museum’s sunny courtyards. Don’t miss the annual Day of the Hermitage Cat, to be held in
Burmese Cats, Inle Lake, Myanmar
The Burmese cat – hailed as sacred in ancient times but now almost non-existent in its homeland – is making a comeback at the lakeside
Inthar Heritage House. The cultural centre is home to a breeding program that’s re-introducing the coveted cats to Myanmar: one was even given to Aung San Suu Kyi. But you don’t need to be a global icon to appreciate the beauty of the Burmese: Inthar is open to visitors, who cuddle the pedigree pusses and watch them enjoy their rice dinners.
Cobblestone cats, Kotor, Montenegro
Cats are so ubiquitous that they’ve become the unofficial symbol of Kotor;
Average Joe Cat Show, Arlington, Washington, USA
Held in Arlington, Snohomish County, the annual event pays homage to the everyday puss in categories such as Most Impressive Ear Hair, Most Obnoxious and Biggest Feet.
Moggie mecca, Egypt
Once upon a time, all cats were owned by the Pharaoh, women and men wore make-up to mimic cats’ eyes, and killing a cat was punishable by death. Today, their slightly more scruffy scions roam the hectic Cairo streets, but their regal legacy lives on in myriad tomb paintings,
cat statues and millions of souvenirs from the gimcrack to the genuine. The Cairo-based Egyptian Mau Rescue Organisation even arranges international adoptions of the majestic meowsers.
The list would not be complete without Cyprus cats
The Cyprus cat is linked with the Byzantine monastery peculiarly named “St. Nicholas of the Cats” (Greek Άγιος Νικόλαος των Γατών), which was founded in the fourth century AD. According to Byzantine legend, St. Helen imported hundreds of cats from Egypt or Palestine in the fourth century to control venomous snakes that had infested the monastery. The monastery had two bells, one to call the cats for meals and the other to send to the fields to hunt snakes. Today, the monastery’s population of cats has dwindled.
The Nobel Laureate, Giorgos Seferis, wrote of the Cyprus cat in his poem, “The Cats of St. Nicholas” translated by Edmund Keely and Philip Sherrard in 1995.