Houtong Cat Village: Taiwan’s Very Own Feline Paradise

Houtong Cat Village: Taiwan’s Very Own Feline Paradise

Enter a village in Taiwan that is all about cats! Houtong Cat Village, just an hour away from Taipei, is the kind of place that cat-crazed humans would love to visit.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the multiple islands in Japan where cats rule, such as Tashirojima and Aoshima. 

But did you know that Taiwan also has its very own cat village?

Image credit: Jennifer

The village of Houtong in northern Taiwan is a feline paradise where cats outnumber humans. Not only is there a riot of cats in all shapes, sizes and meows, the whole village itself is also cat-themed, catering to the deluge of tourists who come to visit each year. On top of creative feline-inspired murals and mini houses for cats, there are shops selling souvenirs ranging from cat pouches and cat magnets to cat notepads, cat-patterned socks and temporary cat tattoos.

Image credit: Jocelyn & Cathy

Image credit: Jocelyn & Cathy

The village’s feline residents can easily be spotted napping along the alleys, resting on tree branches, scavenging for food or just prowling around and minding their own business. While tourists can feed them biscuits which are sold in the village shops, it’s not encouraged to do so as these cats are already sufficiently fed by the villagers. In fact, there are signs around the village instructing tourists not to feed the cats, tease them or use flash photography.

Image credit: cotaro70s

Image credit: cotaro70s

And while some of the cats are purrfectly happy to be smothered by petting, some of them are the literal “scaredy-cats” and will scamper off when you get too close. The best way to interact with these cats is to wait for the friendly ones to approach you rather than to harass each and every cat in sight.

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Historically, Houtong was a bustling coal mining village in the 1950s with a population of over 6,000. After the mining industry took a downturn, young villagers began to move out in search for better opportunities. Today, there are less than 100 locals living in the village alongside as many as 200 felines. The cat population is generally healthy as they are taken care of by a small team of volunteers and vets.

Houtong can be visited as a day trip from Taipei. From Taipei Station, it takes slightly more than an hour to get to Houtong Railway Station via Ruifang. It’s best to visit early in the day as most establishments in Houtong Cat Village are closed by evening.

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