Traveling Cats - Travel Pictures of Cats

Cats from Stratford-upon-Avon {England}

stratford upon avon best cafe

Blogger Hayley Warren is on a mission to visit every cat café in the UK, and she writes about her feline adventures on her travel, food & lifestyle blog Strangeness & Charm.

One of the most remarkable cat cafés she has ever visited is the Shakespaw Cat Café in Stratford-upon-Avon. "It has to be in my top 5 cat cafés," Hayley says.

Let's take a look inside.

cat cafe stratford upon avon

The decor is quirky and cozy and makes you feel like you're in someone's living room. "I felt so relaxed there, and I loved just sitting at my table and watching the cats," Hayley says. "I had a great chat about the cats with one member of staff, Sam. You could tell that she really loves each and every one. The same can be said for the rest of the staff who were there on that day."

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Shakespaw houses seven cats from different breeds.

First, there's Viola, a tabby with a very active personality. She's always wandering around and jumping on tables.

The three white cats are called Romeo, Juliet and Tybalt. Can you tell them apart?

"Hermione is the Ragdoll," Hayley says. "While I was there, she spent most of the time asleep in a suitcase, but she did get up for a play before I left."

Puck is the black and white male. He's also the youngest of this clowder of cats.

And then there's Bottom, a grumpy Persian who rarely grooms himself (that's a human's job).

cat cafe england

To enter the cat café, you have to pay a £5 entry fee, which goes directly towards the cats' food, toys, litter, and medical assistance. For that sum, you can enjoy 90 minutes of pure, unadulterated feline bliss. It's many cheaper than many of the other cat cafés in the UK (such as Lady Dinah's Cat Emporium).

shakespaw

On the menu, you'll find a decent selection of finger sandwiches and cake (with gluten-free and vegan options), hot drinks, soft drinks, and cocktails. However, you are not allowed to share this food with Shakespaw's feline residents.

cat cafe stratford upon avon

You'll find Shakespaws Cat Café on 6 Union Street, which is right in the center of Stratford-upon-Avon, England. It's open every day, except Tuesdays, from 10 am to 6 pm.

It's possible to book your visit online, though the place is not always packed. "When I was there on a Thursday afternoon, the café was pretty quiet," Hayley says. "When I arrived there was just one other table occupied, and when they left, another couple came in, but only stayed for half an hour. So, I pretty much had the whole cat café to myself."

Just like in the Kuro Neko Cat Café in Kortrijk, children and dogs are not allowed inside because they can't guarantee the happiness and safety of the cats. However, Shakespaw does host workshops for children where they teach them about the correct way to handle cats.

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"I really enjoyed my visit to Shakespaw Cat Café, and I will definitely be going back," Hayley says. "It was such a friendly atmosphere and all of the cats were lovely."

Read more about Hayley's visit of the Shakespaw Cat Café at Strangeness & Charm.

shakespaw cat cafe

Cat from Ithaca {USA}

ithaca

Situated in the garden of a historic train station at the southeast corner of Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, New York, you will find the AirBnB property Charming Lakeview Cottages.

It's known for its picturesque buildings, homey atmosphere, and lush green surroundings. Charming Lakeview Cottages also has a resident cat: Blue.

ithaca cats

"I visited the location in 2016 when I was a member of the jury at the Ithaca Fantastik film festival," says Traveling Cats reader Gilles Vranckx.

"For practical reasons (it was too far from the venue), I wasn't sleeping at Charming Lakeview Cottages, but a friend was, so I sometimes met him at the property so we could have breakfast or dinner together."

ithaca house
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"The property was rather charming," Gilles says. "The atmosphere is very homey – bric à brac – with a large garden. It's located a little uphill, so you have a very pretty view over the surrounding area."

Read next => The cats and ghosts of the most haunted hotel in the US

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"There are several little cottages on the domain, but the rooms, kitchen and lounge area are all in the same building."

ithaca hotel

The property was constructed around 1830, and for years, it served as a lighthouse. It was later transformed into a switchback to the railroad and became a residential space in the 1930s.

ithaca autumn
ithaca walking trails

From the early 1960s to the early 1990s, the buildings were abandoned and fell into ruin. British visual artist Paul Chambers rescued and recycled the site, and his friend Wylie Schwartz, a native Ithacan, purchased the property and turned it into the AirBnB that it is today.

Read next => Meet the cats and kittens of the Sunrise Resort in Eftalou

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"Of course, the first thing I noticed when I arrived at Charming Lakeview Cottages was the cat. I followed him everywhere," says Gilles.

ithaca b&b
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"The cat's name is Blue. He's very sociable, and you can see that Charming Lakeview Cottages is his territory and that he feels at home there," says Gilles. "He loves interacting with the tourists and the other inhabitants."

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Apparently, Blue doesn't go inside the cottage but lives in the green house next door and hangs out in the garden, especially when it's warm out.

Read next => Meet the cats of The Coconut Residence in The Gambia

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"I loved Ithaca," says Gilles. "Most people know it because of Cornell University, but there's so much green. Lots of waterfalls, little rivers, nature. I instantly had to think of Twin Peaks when I arrived."

ithaca houses

"Ithaca is so different from Europe," says Gilles. "The inhabitants of New York think it's small, but everything is so much larger there than in Europe – the houses, the streets, the blocks. I was there right after Halloween, and there were still some decorations left, pumpkins and such."

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Do you also want to stay at Charming Lakeview Cottages so you can spend some time with Blue? You can find Wylie Schwartz and her property on AirBnB.

Other things to visit in the neighborhood: Cayuga Lake, East Coast swimming beach, the different universities, and Finger Lakes wine country.

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ithaca fantastik film festival

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Cats from Ventabren {France}

ventabren france

Near Aix-en-Provence is a pretty village perched at the top of a hill: Ventabren. It is known for the remains of its Château of Queen Jeanne, the picturesque surrounding countryside, cobbled streets, lots of flowers, and... a couple of cats that were featured in the book The French Cat by Rachael McKenna.

romeo cat

"On my second visit to Ventabren, I came across Romeo dozing on a fence post," writes McKenna in her book. "As soon as he saw me, he hopped off, stretching, and wandered over, obviously wondering where we were off to this time. He even turned up again later that evening when I returned to see if I'd missed any cats. I wonder if he'll recognise me again when we return later in the year to photograph some of the dogs of Ventabren."

garfield lookalike

"Persian had the perfect vantage point from which to watch the goings-on in the village square in Ventabren. It was dusk when I discovered him. The locals were out and about walking their dogs or on their way to a popular restaurant around the corner. A couple, intrigued by my activities, stopped to admire Persian as I was photographing him: 'Un chat qui ressemble à Garfield,' the man said. He was right. The big ginger Persian did indeed resemble Garfield."

chats en france

Cats from Kortrijk {Belgium}

kuroneko cat cafe

Kortrijk may not be on your list of top cities to visit in Belgium, but this is about to change.

The city is home to a cute café where 11 cats rule (and several kittens will soon be joining the crew): Kuro Neko Cat Café. It's situated in the middle of the historic center of Kortrijk, at walking distance from the main market square.

kattencafé belgië

The café was founded in 2018 by brother and sister Arne and Birgit Verbeke.

The name, Kuro Neko, is Japanese and means black cat.

kuroneko

It's not the only reference to Japanese culture. The cats' names, too, have Asian roots: Hime, Toshiro, Sano, Sakura, Natsu, Ichigo, Nee-Chan, etc.

It'll probably come as no surprise that the concept is based on the very first cat cafés in Japan and Taiwan.

kuroneko kortrijk

The creamy interior of Kuro Neko is completely catified, with plenty of climbing and scratching options. Cat toys are everywhere. The cats particularly liked the giant exercise wheel.

cat exercise wheel
exercise wheel for cats

The fish-shaped catnip toys were also approved by the feline community.

fish-shaped cat toys

The space is divided into two main areas: the entrance/shop (where you can buy organic cat food, toys and cat wine) and the main seating area.

The cats' litter boxes are located in a separate retreat room where the animals have access via cutouts.

kuro neko shop
kattenwijn

There are also a large number of cat books at your disposition in the seating area: Avalon, Catfulness, Cat vs. Human, and many more.

kattenboek

Visitors can choose from a large variety of tea, coffee and homemade lemonade. Pastries are also available, though these sell out quickly during weekends.

By the way, how cute are those mugs?

coffee mugs for cat lovers

Kuro Neko is quite popular, and you'll often have to wait a little while before securing a spot. A reservation, however, is not necessary.

cat needs coffee

Just like in other cat cafés, there's a number of rules to follow to make sure the cats remain happy. One of these rules is that children under the age of eight are not allowed inside the café (anymore). While most young children are respectful towards the animals, there were too many occasions where they pulled the cats' tails or even hit them. At least, the cats are happy and at peace now.

happy cats
kattenmanden

Practical information:

Address: Kuro Neko Cat Café, Onze-Lieve-Vrouwenstraat 20, Kortrijk, Belgium

Opening hours: Kuro Neko is open every day, except Wednesdays, from 10 a.m. to to 6 p.m.

After hours, Kuro Neko sometimes organizes a series of workshops and events, such as movie nights or yoga classes in the company of purring kitties.

kortrijk kattencafé
kuro neko kortrijk

If you're ever in Belgium, make sure you stop by to see the cats of Kuro Neko.

kuro neko logo


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katten

Cat from Valletta {Malta}

malta cats

Positioned at the bow of a fishing boat in the Maltese port of Valletta, this cat has nothing to fear from a foreign invasion. Just like Sweden, Ireland and the United Kingdom, Malta has banned the entry of pets on its territory to prevent animal diseases such as rabies. As such, this kitty can bask in the sun with reckless abandon.

Text and photo: Chats autour du monde

malta cats

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