The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Houtong cat village


Houtong was once a busy and bustling mining town in the Rueifang District of Taiwan. After the decline of the mining industry in the 1990s, the city became virtually abandoned, and fell into ruin.

That is, until the cats.

In 2008, a team of animal lovers worked to make the industrial environment safer and more comfortable for the town’s population of local cats. They posted a few photos online, and within weeks Houtong became known as the Cat Village, drawing visitors from all over the island and rave reviews from every corner of the web. The town’s residents reacted accordingly and the entire town was renovated to look more feline. The roof of the railway station was fitted with a cat walk, and cat-themed boutiques cropped up on every corner, selling everything from cat shaped pineapple cakes to cat themed post cards.


Strolling down the small main road, you’ll find an abundance of cats, xiao chi (snack) stores, and surprisingly, quite a few dogs. The cats are, for the most part, very friendly, and even the shy ones are polite enough to let you get in a few pets before sprinting off. My personal favorites were two calico sibling kittens that live on the bridge overlooking the village; as soon as I stepped onto the walk, they sprinted over and leapt into my lap; plenty of cuddles to go around!

It’s best to dress in clothes you don’t care too much about when visiting the Cat Village. Chances are, you’ll be going home covered in cat fur and smelling of feline saliva. Plan to spend a whole day in Houtong if you end up visiting. It’s simply too hard to walk away from all the furry bundles of love.

Turns out cats aren’t the only ones with nine lives. Even small Taiwanese towns can come back to life; all you need is some feline attitude.

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