The problem with internet cats is that you can’t cuddle them, get your hands slashed to ribbons when you try and tickle their bellies, take a million pictures of them in various states of unconsciousness to set as your lock screen background, or swear at them relentlessly when they urinate on your favorite hat. So Gap Year put together a list of places you can travel to do all of the above, and enjoy a bit of a holiday in the process.
1. Cat Cafes, South Korea
A cat cafe recreates the experience of cat ownership fairly accurately: you can’t sit where you want because cats are there; you can’t get the cats’ attention because they are disdainful of your existence; you can’t eat your food or drink your beverages because they are full of cat hair. Cat cafes are prevalent all over Asia, and are rapidly spreading to major cities around the globe. We’ve chosen the fine establishments in Seoul, South Korea, because they usually focus on pedigree cats, granting you the chance to be soundly ignored by Maine Coons, Russian Blues, and Birmans alike. Bargain.
2. Cat Island, Japan
Life doesn’t often enough imitate a Haruki Murakami novel, but Aoshima Island in the author’s homeland does it in unabashed style. It’s a small fishing community where feral cats outnumber humans six to one, making abandoned houses their own, congregating in packs on the streets, and making the internet lose its collective mind. You won’t be surprised to hear it’s recently become a popular tourist destination.
3. Cat Cabinet, Amsterdam
We all know at least one crazy cat person, their homes filled with felines, tacky memorabilia, and a smell that won’t leave your clothes for weeks. The KattenKabinet is what happens when this obsession goes unchecked: paintings, drawings, sculptures, and other miscellaneous works of art dedicated to these gods among pets, all crammed into one glorious space.
4. Istanbul, Turkey
It’s not unusual to find far flung lands teeming with street cats, wearing leather jackets and challenging tourists to high stakes games of Liar’s Dice. Their revered status in Islam makes their presence more common in Muslim countries. Visit Istanbul and you’ll likely find cats perched on windowsills along the streets, crouched under cars and dining tables, and even sprawled inside mosques.
5. Moscow Cats Theatre, Russia
Cats are useless, people say. You can’t train them to do anything helpful like assist blind people or open beers with their teeth, and all they do is lie there. That’s what anti-cat propaganda will have you believe. The Moscow Cats Theatre is here to disprove it all. It consists of 200 feline performers, working alongside more traditional circus folk to perform a breathtaking show that includes them walking on narrow bridges, balancing on precarious things, and… okay, by the sounds of it the cats just sort of hang around and be cats. Luckily we’re down with that.