Published: Aug. 17, 2023

As part of a Tang-funded global seminar this summer, a group of 14 undergraduate students from CU embarked on a three-week program immersing themselves in Taiwanese life, culture, politics, and history. We'll be showcasing a series of blog posts from these students to share what the experience has been like in their words.

post # 13 Lauren Funston - A Cat Lover’s Guide to Taiwan

It’s no secret that I’m a cat person. If you asked anyone else on this trip to describe me, I think that might be the single personality trait that they would come up with. I’ve shown pictures and videos of my two cats, Nila and Faith, to pretty much anyone who will listen for the past few weeks… but anyways, this isn’t about my cats! Instead, I’m going to introduce all the various new cat friends I’ve gotten to meet throughout my time in Taiwan.

Taiwan, just like me, seems to have a huge love for cats. Dogs are popular too: there are several dog species that are native to Taiwan, and the subway is filled with illustrations of cute dogs misbehaving as a warning… but cats are everywhere too, and if you get lucky enough, you might spot a real one.

The first and most obvious place to look for cats in Taiwan would be cat cafes. Yes, they’re a worldwide phenomenon, but they have several in Taiwan and Taipei specifically. I’ve attempted to go to several on this trip but only got into one as the other ones unfortunately didn’t have space for all of us. But still, for a first-time cat cafe experience, it was a treat! The cats were all (mostly) very sweet, but they did seem a bit overwhelmed to be suddenly introduced to almost a dozen foreign 20-year-olds. However, I still managed to get quite a few very cute pictures. Overall, it was a great way to spend a day off.

interior with cat

But if you thought the cat cafe had a lot of cats, you’d be in for a surprise when we visited Houtong – an entire village of cats! Houtong is famous for mostly consisting of cats rather than people, and it lived up to its reputation. The cats here were also all surprisingly sweet and seemed very friendly with humans. A few of them allowed us to pet them. Many were seen whiling the day away while napping on a rooftop which truly brought peace to my soul. The area itself was also incredibly beautiful, a little mountain village nestled away from the big city life of Taipei. You can even buy food to feed the cats or any cat-related merch you could possibly desire from the small stands located right next to the train station.

       
   

 

Finally, I also got a chance to visit the Hello Kitty-themed 7/11 in Ximen! This 7/11, while operating like a regular 7/11 store, also has lots of Sanrio merchandise like plushies for sale, and just has the cutest interior decoration of any convenience store ever. So yes, even though Hello Kitty isn’t a “real” cat, I thoroughly enjoyed this cat experience just as much as the other ones.

mountain viewcat outside

Finally, I also got a chance to visit the Hello Kitty themed 7/11 in Ximen! This 7/11, while operating like a regular 7/11 store, also has lots of Sanrio merchandise like plushies for sale, and also just has the cutest interior decoration of any convenience store ever. So yes, even though Hello Kitty isn’t a “real” cat, I thoroughly enjoyed this cat experience just as much as the other ones.

hello kitty convenience store