Feline lovers shall unite to take in the mystique of these practically one of a kind museums, circus acts, and stores that are simply devoted to honoring our feline best friends. Pussy lovers, this post is for you. 😉
1. Average Joe Cat Show, Arlington, Washington
The Average Joe Cat Show is a fun event hosted by Purrfect Pals. Dozens of cats come out ready to win each year. They can win awards in categories such as “Most Impressive Ear Hair,” and “Loudest Purr.” SOUNDS LIKE A LITERAL HEAVEN.
2. Hemingway’s Cats at The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum in Key West, Florida
The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is home to approximately 40-50 polydactyl cats. That means they have six toes. Cats normally have five front toes and four back toes. Sometimes it looks like they’re wearing mittens. The cuteness just doesn’t stop. Totally worth the drive out to Key West!
Dominique LeFort is one of the more idiosyncratic locals—and in Margaritaville, that’s really saying something. The performer and his troupe of trained house cats entertain regularly at Sunset Celebration, a nightly arts festival at Mallory Square Dock. The shaggy-haired Frenchman ushers his nonchalant cats across tightropes and through flaming hoops, all while keeping up a madcap banter with the audience (including his catchphrase, “Clap, clap, clap!”), a shtick that has earned the act a cult following.
4. Matilda, the Algonquin Cat, New York City
There may be no more famous cat in New York City than Matilda, the Algonquin Hotel’s in-house guard cat. There may be no more controversial as well, since Matilda, the 10th cat to take up residence in the hotel’s lobby and bar since 1930, found herself subject to a Department of Health investigation in 2011 that forced the hotel’s staff to keep her leashed up behind the check-in desk. After some tabloid back-and-forth, Matilda was fitted with a vibrating collar that keeps her away from the Algonquin’s kitchen and in good stead with the city. Countless tourists flock to see her in the hotel’s lobby each year.
5. Big Cat Rescue, Tampa
Located on 55 acres in north Tampa, Big Cat Rescue is an up-close sanctuary that’s home to 14 species including tigers, lions, leopards, ocelots, lynxes, cougars, and other—often endangered—big cats. Founded in 1992, it has grown to be the world’s largest accredited sanctuary dedicated to big cats, with more than 100 animals that have been abandoned or abused by their previous owners or retired from circuses.
6. Florida Panther Festival, Naples, FL
This free event, held each November, offers a host of activities devoted to supporting and educating the public about the beautiful Florida panther, one of the most endangered mammals in the world. (There are estimated to be only 100–160 of the animals left in the wild.) The festival includes talks, live musical performances, adopt-a-panther programs, and an array of field trips like hikes, bike rides, and a buggy tour that let visitors see the panther’s natural territory, especially at the renowned Florida panther refuge. Field trips fill up fast, and registration opens in late September, so get in quick.
7. Feline Historical Museum, Alliance, OH
The nonprofit Cat Fanciers’ Association licenses more than 400 annual shows worldwide. For those needing a more accessible feline fix, the foundation runs a small museum dedicated to cats in Alliance, where visitors can peruse the comprehensive collection of cat ephemera, including books, magazines, artworks, and cat show memorabilia.
8. Cat Cafes
The San Francisco Bay Area is getting the United States’ first and second cat cafes, which reimagines cafes as oases where patrons can kick back with a hot drink and a resident cat. The two spots, KitTea in San Francisco and Cat Town Cafe in Oakland, are both in the planning stages but will function slightly differently. Health codes allowing, the two cafes are hoping for 2014 openings. While Cat Town is also still scouting a location, the group has launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds.
What’s your favorite place to take the cats?! Let us know in the comments section below, we’d love to hear from you.