Sick and tired of the regular Taipei stuff, last last weekend while i was there for work, I explored a small village/area called Houtong, or 侯硐. If you're not a cat lover you should stop reading here and go watch Youtube, because this place is for cat lovers, really! But if you're a cat lover, you're in luck! 

How to go: Take TRA from Taipei Main station to Badu Station (八堵車站), then get off the train and change to another platform to take the train direct to Houtong Station(侯硐車站). Once you reach Houtong station, exit and turn right, crossing the 'cats bridge'

bridge leading to Houtong cat village

Review: Some background on Houtong from the pamphlets i read was that this place was actually famous in the past for being an old mining site, and for being home to many monkeys, thus the name 'Houtong', or 'Monkey cave/dwelling'. There's even a museum of mining, that's located about 200m to the right of the exit to the station opposite the cat village. 

old mining company

It's only that in rather recent years, the residents of Houtong have taken in many stray cats. The tourism industry of Taiwan used this to their advantage and developed this into a proper attraction, with maps and directions, and even souvenirs and snacks (will elaborate on this at the end of the post), attracting even locals to visit the small town. 

bridge leading to cat village

map of the area can be found along the bridge

train station area

Don't go there expecting a full-blown tourist attraction. It's mainly just a small town/village that's kept it's original look, but with loads of stray cats, stalls where you can buy cat food to feed the strays.

Locals doing their thing

furry cat

old-style living

Since there are still locals who stay within the walking areas, it's good to be mindful of that and be polite to them, and not to poke around their houses too much. Also, if the cats won't keep still for a photo, don't force them. They're probably shot by 100+ people or more on a daily basis, so unless they're the outgoing sort, this is a bit demanding of them. 

feeding kittens near the bridge

cute cat 'pots'

just chillin'

A thing they've done very well with this place is that most of the young kittens are kept away from visitors to prevent them from getting infections or falling sick since tourists/visitors can be a source of germs/infection. There are areas for washing your hand before/after touching/playing with the cats, which makes it very hygienic. 

too young to come out and play

Also majority of the cats within the village have been sterilised and there are volunteers/vets who often visit the area to ensure the cats are healthy and well. 
There are also a few cat-related cafes, places for adopting cats etc. 

adopting kittens

I found a cafe i really love, which sits at nearly the top of the houtong village. I won't reveal the name of this place as i think all the fun comes from exploring the area and actually finding the place, but if after seeing the photos you want to make sure you don't miss it, let me know and i'll give you more specific directions. The owner of the cafe is really chatty and kind, and his cats are all adorable!

friendly owner preparing drinks

amazingly beautiful and relaxing place

Before you go home, don't forget to take pictures with the huge cat mascot and get some cat-related souvenirs from the shops nearby the train station. They have all kinds of things from postcards to phone cases and even food-related products. I caved in and bought the cat pineapple cakes without hesitation. Taste was so-so but the novelty was very worthwhile. 

cat mascot 

take your pick 

cat-shaped pineapple/cranberry/blueberry cake/tart