Cat worship was a common practice of many cultures in the ancient world, as these creatures inspire an entranced fascination from the humans who closely observe them. Cats can be both affectionate, playful one moment, then aloof, mysterious or threatening the next. Felines are difficult to understand, and can be curious and entertaining creatures. Though most cat-lovers today enjoy the companionship of having a kitty or two at home, other feline devotees have taken their appreciation to obsessive levels. Glance below for a list of the top ten cat-obsessed and feline-centric locations.
1. Tashirojime Island – Japan.
Most of us have heard that sheep in New Zealand outnumber the human inhabitants 5 to 1, but New Zealand is not the only island where one species is more numerous than humans. Tashirojima, Japan is an island habitat entirely dedicated to cats. No dogs are allowed on this worshipful isle, and the only humans on the island (numbering to about 100 people) tend the cats by feeding them and treating their diseases. The island has become a popular tourist destination, as it is filled with over 50 stone monuments in the shape of cats, 10 shrines, and hundreds of living felines that roam freely in the streets!
2. Ceramic Cat Collection –Birmingham, England.
Most “crazy cat ladies” are deemed as such for owning multiple cats and generally living alone. In Pamela Cole’s case, cat-adoration began for her as a child when her mother gave her a ceramic cat figurine. This stemmed into a life-long passion that the 65 year woman has pursued by collecting over 2,200 ceramic cats, which now decorate her Birmingham home. She continues to search for antique cats, and other treasures to add to her ever-expanding collection.
3. Feline Circus –Moscow, Russia
For any skeptics about a cat’s ability to learn tricks –this circus will remove all doubt. Since 1990, over 120 cats have taken turns performing in this show at the Moscow Cat Theatre. The cats ride skateboards, balance on rolling balls, and walk the tightrope with surprising ease.
4. The Rock Cats—Chicago, Illinois
Cat crazed music lovers will be enthused to find that the Rock Cats in Chicago Illinois delight audiences with their spontaneous live performances. They can play guitar, chimes, bells and drums, all to their own tempo and style. While the music is less than impressive, the felines provide an entertaining show.
5. Cat Cafes – (Global)
A fad that began in Taiwan quickly spread to cat-loving Japan, and has become a hot commodity across the world. Cat cafes allow guest to enjoy sipping tea or coffee, while being surrounded by amusing felines to play with. Patrons pay a surcharge to mingle with the kitties for a few hours, as an alternative to pet-ownership. This popular trend is gaining more ground globally, as there are now multiple cat cafes across Europe, Canada, and the USA.
6. Cat House Playground –California, USA
Some people love their cats so much, they want nothing but fun and games for their lively little fur-balls. Two San Diego residents took cat-devotion to the next level by remodeling their entire house to be a playroom for their feline inhabitants. With neon-colored walls, perches, cat staircases, scratch-posts throughout, tunnels, and cat-themed upholstery and art throughout. The couple offer tours of their house, often hosting hundreds of visitors a day.
7. Cat Festival –Ypres, Belgium
The cat festival began as a superstitious medieval tradition of hurling suspicious cats from high towers, and mercifully was ended in 1817. Since then, the town has turned the festival into a celebration of felines. Parades of cat floats and children in feline costumes adorn the streets, and plush cat toys are tossed to children in the audience.
8. The Cat Museum of Kuching –Malaysia
From ancient Egyptian mummified cats, to cats made of seashells, and a stuffed figure of the rarest cat in the world, this Malaysian museum is a one-of-a-kind location instituted to honoring felines. The collection provides over 2,000 objects, as well as a brief history of cat worship across the world. Since cats are believed to bring good luck, and the name “Kuching” literally translates to “Cat City,” it is easy to see why this museum is a popular attraction.
9. Cat Garden – Northern Ireland
As one of the only places in Europe where cats are regarded as good omens (possibly for their rodent-ridding abilities), a castle in Belfast is devoted to the celebration of cats. The gardens of the castle have cat-themed statues, bushes, and subtle tributes to the elusive creatures.
10. Stray-Cat Sanctuaries –Worldwide
Cat havens and refuges can be found all over the globe. Feline-frenzied Yuri Kuklachev of Russia owns the Moscow Cat Temple, where he houses over 200 cats. The Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary in Rome, Italy shelters over 300 cats in some of the oldest ruins of the city. Egypt, Jerusalem, the Mykonos Isle in Greece also have fair cat populations. A playground in Kiev, Ukraine is dedicated to the Cheshire Cat, and most of the fixtures are made in the likeness of felines. Disneyland is another safe haven for several hundred rodent-catching cats, and one of the smallest cat sanctuaries is the home of late Pulitzer Prize winner Ernest Hemingway, that now houses over 40 cats.