Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Favourite Day Ever Ever!

Before we went to Taiwan I had a few days at my school with nothing to do except scour blogs for things to do in Taiwan. I'm pretty glad I had that time because although there's a lot of posts about Modern Toilet and Taipei 101 and Taroko Gorge, if I hadn't had a stupid amount of time to spend on the internet I wouldn't have found out about the most magical place in the world, Houtong.

There isn't even any information about Houtong in that link, except to say it's a train station. It's so much more.

Houtong used to be a mining town and then when the mining jobs died out, the town died too. Until a few years ago, when the remaining residents decided to adopt all of the stray cats it could find and become a Cat Town. A Cat Town! So awesome. Tom and I are both total cat people so it was a given we'd visit.

We got up bright and early and caught a train from Songshan Station to Houtong. The day was utterly miserable and rainy but we were mostly undeterred. We left the tracks and as soon as we got into the station there were kitties! 

Cat themed signs were everywhere - these are in the station
Station Kitties! Tom sets to work petting all of them.

I'm not excited AT ALL.

It was absolutely pouring with rain so we took shelter in a clearly very new tourist attraction which was about the town's old mining history. I had great difficulty faking interest in a giant diorama explaining the mining process, so I left that to Tom and got to cuddling one of the cats who was sitting in the doorway.

This guy was so beautiful, and just loved being hugged - every time we tried to put him down he'd burrow into your neck and cling on. Naww.

We left the mining exhibit and headed back to the station to be greeted by this kitty. Tom picked it up and gave it a cuddle. There were a few older men in the station who kept speaking to us in Chinese and pointing at a weird staircase which we eventually realised went over the train tracks and to the actual 'cat village.'

Although it was absolutely pouring with rain, the kitty below made a valiant effort to cross the (uncovered) bridge and follow us to cat land. We could hear him wailing as we walked on in search of more cats.

This dude was pretty angry, and I think he was appointed the mayor or something. 
Determined to get cuddles and pats, this cat followed us for almost the whole time. 

Houtong from above.

Find the cat!

We stopped to take shelter under someone's balcony and play with the three or four cats which were hanging around. Every few minutes, another cat would pop up until there were about eight cats climbing all over us! Eventually, the woman who lived there popped out bringing even more cats with her!  She didn't speak any English but explained which cats were pregnant, which were just fat and which one was the meanest - the fluffiest one in the picture below.

After a few hours of snuggles and ear scratches we reluctantly got back on the train and continued exploring.

As a note - we ended up visiting Houtong later in the day, and the cats weren't as cuddly the second time. This could have been due to more visitors coming through, or because it was so rainy. But a pro tip -visit early in the morning on a weekday, and you'll have your pick of cats. This also works for Cat Cafes too.  


  1. I was very close to not being able to find the cat. I thought you were LYING.

  2. Fascinating as usual Anna! Cat town? Toilet themed restaurant? Whoever knew it was such a wacko place!

  3. 10 points to you Noelle :D

    Thanks Peter! I wish New Zealand had more of these quirky places, but maybe I haven't looked hard enough.