Is there anything more exciting than playing with cats? Lovable and adorable, we wish there are more hours in the day to spend quality time with our furry friends. As cat lovers ourselves, we love travelling to new places and discovering more cat-friendly cities to visit ?
If we could, we would snuggle every cat in the world. To live out this impossible dream, here are 9 Muslim-friendly places in the world you should visit if you’re a cat lover!
1. Houtong Cat Village, Taiwan
There’s a purr-fect paradise in Taiwan where you can find cats lounging away in the midst of nature. That place is called Houtong Cat Village and it’s situated along the calm Keelung River. Here, you can spot a friendly tabby cat walking down the sidewalk or a shy tortoiseshell feline resting on the bench ?
Currently, this charming local village has over 200 cat residents, which makes it a lovely sightseeing spot for cat lovers. Remember to swing by the little cafes and souvenir shops to complete your experience. You can pick up cat-themed notepads, fridge magnets, and purses too!
#HHWT Tip: After you're done admiring the cats at Houtong, head back to Taipei for a gastronomic feast! Our list of Muslim-friendly eateries in Taipei will be just what you need.
Address: Houtong Cat Village, 224 Fengjia Road, Ruifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan
2. Aoshima Cat Island, Japan
When visitors step foot onto Aoshima Cat Island, they will be greeted by a clowder of cats. Situated in the Ehime Prefecture, the cats were originally bred to manage the rodent issues faced by the local fishermen. Eventually, the cats made Aoshima Island their home, and their population grew. Aren't we glad that happened?!
The island has less than 20 residents, but there are reportedly 120 cats living on the island today. While the cat population has attracted tourists far and wide, the island is still a residential home for the locals there. So it’s best to respect their privacy when you’re exploring the island!
#HHWT Tip: There are only two rounds of ferry rides to the island. First, purchase your tickets at the Aoshima boarding area at Iyo-Nagahama station. Then, enjoy a 35-minute ferry ride to Aoshima Island ?
Address: Aoshima Cat Island, 799-3470 Ehime-ken, Ozu-shi, Nagahamacho, Aoshima, Japan
3. Kalkan, Turkey
Kalkan is a charming beach town for cat lovers who are looking for a tan. Sprawled with beaches, great architecture and historical sites, the town is a tourist attraction of its own. However, the cats in Kalkan are popular for being stealing the limelight ? After all, they’re all adorable and waiting to be loved!
Cats roam the streets and alleyways like they own this town, so you’ll stumble upon them when you explore Kalkan on foot. Sometimes, you’ll find them appreciating the afternoon sun on the bench or minding their own business in the town’s centre. Remember to thank the volunteers when you see them! They’re doing a great job in neutering these felines and feeding them during winter.
Address: Kalkan, 07580 Kas/Antalya, Turkey
4. Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium, London
How many feline friends can Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium fit in their two-storey cafe? Well, make that 14 cats! Known as UK’s first cat cafe, they provide a cosy space for visitors to play and cuddle with new furry friends as well as sampling their coffees and cakes.
Credit: @ladydinahscats on Instagram
With these friendly cats roaming around, try to spot all of them! Look out for their oldest cat Mue who doesn’t love pats but enjoys a good fuss. Then, say hello to the very clumsy Carbonelle or the lazy Wookie. Also, did you know that only the luckiest visitor gets a cat cuddle from Wendy??
#HHWT Tip: As this is a cafe, the menu is unfortunately not halal. But, you can always swing by for a cup of tea or coffee ? And if you feel like having afternoon tea elsewhere, these Muslim-friendly bakeries would be perfect!
Address: Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium, 152-154, Bethnal Green Road, London, United Kingdom.
Operating hours: Fri-Mon, 10AM-6PM; Tue & Thu, 11AM-6PM; Closed on Wed
5. Hello Kitty Theme Park, Japan
How lucky are the cat lovers in Tokyo? Known as Sanrio Puroland, this Hello Kitty Theme Park is a happy place for every cat lover. A day spent in this indoor theme park will be filled with exciting parades and shows, attractions and amusement rides, shopping and even a special meet and greet!
#HHWT Tip: Sanrio Puroland is located about 1 hour away from Tokyo and you can get here by taking the Keio Line from Shinjuku station.
Make the most of your visit by planning ahead. Look out for an elaborated musical by the Hello Kitty troupe, snap a photo at the Lady Kitty House, make a wish at Hello Kitty’s Bell of Happiness and take home a Hello Kitty plush toy. Remember to queue up to meet other characters like My Melody, Keroppi, Bad Badtz-Maru and more!
P.S. Feeling hungry after visiting this theme park? Fret not! Head back to Tokyo to have your fill of halal authentic Japanese cuisine with our ultimate guide.
Address: Sanrio Puroland, 31-31 Ochiai, Tama-shi, Tokyo-to 206-8588 Japan.
Operating hours: Mon, 9AM-8PM; Tue-Fri, 10AM-6PM; Sat, 9AM-8PM; Sun, 8.30AM-8PM
6. Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, Rome
Situated in Rome, the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary comes with a very fascinating story. Many centuries ago, the Largo di Torre Argentina (known simply as Torre Argentina) was a public square that consists of Roman Republican temples and the Pompey’s Theatre. It wasn’t known to the public until it was excavated in 1929. Over time, stray and abandoned cats populated this place as their personal shelter!
When founders Silvia Viviani and the late Lia Dequel needed a perfect place to establish a cat sanctuary, the Torre Argentina immediately came to mind. Today, the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary is home to 150 adorable cats and cared for by volunteers every day ?
#HHWT Tip: If you need to fill your tummy after playing with these adorable friends, check out our guide on Muslim-friendly cheap eats in Rome.
Address: Largo di Torre Argentina, 00186 Rome, Italy
Operating hours: Daily, 12PM-6PM
7. The Cat Boat, Amsterdam
Also known as De Poezenboot, you can find this Cat Boat floating on a serene canal in Amsterdam. Founded by the late Henriette van Weelde, the cat sanctuary was originally housed in her home before she ran out of space. Then, she turned one of the houseboats along the canal into the famous Cat Boat.
Credit: Navbike Amsterdam on Facebook
Thanks to streams of donations from visitors, The Cat Boat is still up and running today. Currently, it serves as a home for 50 cats that are waiting to be adopted and cared for by new families. The sanctuary also opens their doors to visitors and everyone is welcome to pat the kitties ?
P.S. Don't travel around Amsterdam without savouring their Muslim-friendly street food!
Credit: @harrietgraceg on Instagram
#HHWT Tip: The Cat Boat is a 5-min walk from the Amsterdam, Nieuwezijds Kolk transit stop.
Address: De Poezenboot, Singel 38G, 1015 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Operating hours: Mon-Tue & Thu-Fri, 1PM-3PM; Closed on Wed & Sun.
8. Tashirojima, Japan
If you’re vacationing closer to the Miyagi Prefecture in Japan, it’ll be a shame to skip a day trip to Tashirojima Island. Why, you ask? Well, these lovable cats are waiting for your high-pitched coos and soft pats. At the moment, there are over 100 cats on the island to keep you busy ?
When the cats were first brought to the island, the residents were trying their best to manage the influx of mice from silkworm farming. So thanks to these hard-working cats, the mice population on the island is now under control!
Credit: @alraisi89 on Twitter
#HHWT Tip: Depending on the season, there are two to three ferry rides to the island. To visit the island, take the 40-minute Ajishimaline cruise from the Ishinomaki Port (accessible via a bus ride from JR Ishinomaki station). Then, hop off at the Nitoda Port of Tashirojima.
Address: Tashirojima (Cat Island), Uchiyama-88 Tashirohama, Ishinomaki-shi, Miyagi-ken 986-0023, Japan.
9. Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong
We bet you didn’t know that Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong is a kitty heaven! While Sham Shui Po is generally known for its authentic street food, road side stalls and flea markets, you can easily spot adorable cats while exploring Hong Kong’s celebrated shopping paradise.
#HHWT Tip: Cat-spotting isn't the only thing you can do at Sham Shui Po. Check out our extensive guide on this local district for what to see, eat and do here.
Credit: @ogitan on Instagram
You can find them in the local shops or well-shaded shopfront, waiting for pats by passers-by and cat lovers. If you come across them, give them a little love and hopefully, they’ll purr back in appreciation ?
Credit: @ozipanda on Instagram
P.S. When travelling around Hong Kong, you'll definitely want our guide on halal food! Check it out here.
Address: Sham Shui Po, Kowloon, Hong Kong
So, if you’re looking for new travelling spots to explore, why not make it a cat-friendly place instead? From Japan’s Aoshima Island to Amsterdam’s Cat Boat, there’s always a place for every cat lover in the world. SHARE this with your fellow cat lovers and plan a trip to visit your furry friends ?