Houtong, Taiwan: The Village of 100 CatsBy Allison Espiritu
In China, cats have been a symbol of good luck and fortune. They’re so lucky that in Houtong, Taiwan, they’ve built a village specifically for cats.
About an hour north of Taipei City, Taiwan, a train will take you to Houtong Train Station where you will find a huge rattan sculpture of a cat head welcoming you into “Cat Village!” This village has about 100 stray cats who roam freely in what was once a flourishing mining city in the 1970s.
It wasn’t until 2008, that a local cat lover brought in a team of volunteers to clean the streets of Houtong and bring life back to the diminishing city by providing a number of abandoned cats a better home within Cat Village.
“Once the coal mines ran dry, and cheaper coal became available elsewhere, Houtong met a massive decline, which ran it’s population down to fewer than 100 – or 30 families,” reports Untapped Cities. “However, once this town became known for it’s friendly cats, Houtong has become a popular tourist destination.”
Today, the local residents of Houtong have taken advantage of Cat Village by setting up cat-themed shops, coffees houses, bakeries, and storefronts. Houtong Cat Village has not only brought life and opportunities back into the city of Houtong but it also has “raised awareness of the history of what was once one of Taiwan’s most prosperous coal mining towns.”