If you adore cats and have one or two pets of your own, then you know just how endearing these little feline friends can be. Cat's are clever, agile, elegant, often a little mysterious and on occasion quite aloof – which is what makes them so very lovable. All over the world, cats have captured people's imagination, so much so that many places are dedicated to our feline friends in quite extraordinary ways.
If you are heading off for a summer break this year and can't quite decide where to go, here are 10 great holiday destinations that you might just adore!
Amsterdam is a superb place to visit and being just across the channel attracts many visitors from our shores. However, apart from the tulips, super coffee shops, the fascinating canals and the rich culture this Dutch metropolis boasts, there's also the extraordinary Cat Boat otherwise known as Poezenboot!
The boat is indeed a floating cat shelter which is home to waifs and strays as well as many abandoned cats. It's docked on the Singel canal and welcomes visitors with open arms whether it's people looking for a feline friend to adopt or who would like to drop in and see all the wonderful work that's done to rescue cats in the city.
Whilst in Amsterdam, it would be cat sacrilege not to visit the Katten Kabinet which is a wonderful canal-side museum that's home to one of the best collections of cat paintings and artworks by the likes of Rembrandt, Picasso and many others!
It is well documented that the ancient Egyptians worshipped cats – there's the Sphinx, cats that were mummified and the cult of Bastet! In short, apart from the draw of the pyramids, as a holiday destination Egypt is a cat's lover's paradise. In ancient times, all cats were the property of the Pharaoh and women as well as men wore make-up that imitated a cats' eyes. Anyone who killed a cat was indeed, put to death themselves!
Today, there are literally thousands of cats that roam the streets of Cairo but their supreme legacy can be seen on tomb paintings and in museums where many ancient cat statues are housed. There is a superb cat rescue centre in Cairo called the Egyptian Mau Rescue Organisation where visitors can even adopt a cat!
Japan is an amazing country to visit with so many weird and wonderful things to see as well as the brilliant food and culture that is! Japanese people may have to live in cramped conditions when they are in the city, but this has not stopped them from being true cat lovers! All around the capital there are a myriad of cat cafés where people can enjoy their favourite cuppa and snuggle up to a resident cat at the same time.
The idea of cat cafés first started in Taiwan, but today they are hugely popular in Japan with around 150 of them dotted all over the country! If you are planning a trip to Tokyo, there are 40 or so cat cafés in the city alone, one of which is called the Calico and it's the most popular!
In Malay, Kuching means Cat City and it's one place in the world where cuddling a cat is the norm. Kuching boasts being one of the cleanest cities and has some amazing statues of cats dotted around the landscape. There's also a wonderful museum dedicated to cats and the entrance is a huge cat's mouth! Inside there's over 2000 cat artefacts including a mummified Egyptian moggy. The museum is also a research centre for cat history and for the many cat based religions.
If you're heading across the Atlantic to the States for a break and want to take in a show or two, then the Average Joe Cat Show might be one very amusing event to attend if you are a cat lover. However, you won't find any pedigree pussies at this Washington feline event, but rather a wonderful selection of gorgeously unique moggies!
The cat show takes place every year in the month of May and attracts visitors and competitors from far and wide – well worth a visit if you're in the USA in May!
Hemingway was known to be a bit of a “hard man” but he had a soft side which was his love of our feline friends and he affectionately called them his “love sponges”! His favourite was a 6 toed Maine Coon called Snowball. Today, Snowball has left a legacy in his descendants and they all live the life of luxury on the Hemingway estate which is now a museum. Visitors are welcome to take a tour around this magnificent place in the sun to meet and admire Snowball's descendants and naturally give them a pat or two!
For those who simply idolise pussy cats, a trip to Tashirojima Island in Japan is a must “go to” destination. Known as Japan's Cat Island, this is truly a paradise for our feline friends. There's a holy shrine to cats, monuments of cats and building adorned with cat's ears, their whiskers and so much more!
Originally, cats were taken over to the island as a way to keep the mouse population under control – however – today, the cats found on the island are more like pampered pets. You are allowed to camp on the island although the spaces are pretty limited but it is well worth going to the manga-cat-themed resort which you can get to by ferry from Ishinomaki City.
The Hermitage museum in Russia is home to some of the country's most treasured objets d'art. The guardians of this amazing establishment are a legion of pussy cats who patrol the museum in search of unwanted rodents – namely rats and mice.
Today, there are over 50 cats that make up the legion of ratters “extraordinaire” but their ancestors were first introduced to The Hermitage way back in 1745 when Catherine the Great ordered them to be housed in the building to keep the mice and other rodents at bay. In April, there is the Annual Day of the Hermitage Cat which is celebrated at the museum which is an event well worth attending if you're a cat lover!