By Aimee Long
There’s something about the company of pets makes everything feel a little brighter. While it’s become easier to bring our furry companions with us on our adventures, sometimes we have to leave our beloved fluff balls behind. Whether you’re bringing your pet along on your adventures or simply want to seek out the company of animals on your next vacation, here are the best destinations for pet lovers around the world.
Ernest Hemingway’s Home, Key West, FL
Credit: KAREN BLEIER/ AFP via Getty Images
Ernest Hemingway’s love of cats has translated into a refuge for polydactyl felines in his gorgeous home in Key West, Florida. Polydactyl cats have a genetic disposition for extra toes, giving their paws a mitten-like appearance. The gift of one cat to Hemingway has grown into a population of 60 cats and kittens, all descendants of his original, beloved cat, Snow White.
The house itself is a museum containing artifacts from Hemingway’s life and career, but the cats are an added bonus to this historical site. Each cat was named after a famous individual in the tradition of Hemingway himself. Be sure to download the museum’s app before visiting so you know which cat you take a liking to.
Woofstock Dog Festival, Toronto, Canada
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With hundreds of vendors and thousands of canine attendees, Woofstock is the perfect experience for dog lovers. Held every summer on the shores of Lake Ontario in Toronto, Canada, this festival is the true culmination of a deep love of dogs. Entertainment and events include dog fashion shows, a rescue village for dogs looking to be adopted, and a dock from which canines can plunge into the lake. There’s even a cat corner for kitty lovers. If you’re a canine enthusiast there may be no better place to add to your bucket list than Woofstock.
Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, Rome, Italy
Also known as Gatti di Roma, the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary is a beautiful respite for stray cats looking for a home off the streets of Italy. Nestled amid Roman ruins, the sanctuary provides spaying, neutering, and other medical care for lost felines. At one point there were a collective 250 cats living here.
Tourists and locals alike come to the sanctuary to get their cat fix in, all while sitting amongst the very ruins where Caesar breathed his last breath. Visitors can donate their time or money to help care for the cats and even adopt them.
Credit: Yasonya/ Shutterstock
Hunting truffles in the Istrian countryside is a rite of passage in Croatia. A heart-shaped peninsula located in the north of this Mediterranean country, this is truffle heaven and who better to help us humans search for them than an animal with an incredibly keen sense of smell — dogs. While historically pigs were also used, dogs have been the animal of choice in recent years due to the pigs’ propensity to eat said truffles along with their more stubborn behavior.
The best part, aside from lots of dog cuddles and getting the chance to see these pets at work, is trying the fruits of their labor in the form of delicious truffles.
Cat Flower Garden, Taipei, Taiwan
Credit: Sean Hsu/ Shutterstock
Touted as the world’s first-ever cat cafe, the Cat Flower Garden in Taipei, Taiwan was opened in 1998. Cat cafes took Asia by storm in the early 2000s and the trend has slowly trickled its way west since then. Cat Flower Garden is a cozy cafe, tucked away in the Shilin district of Taipei, offering cat snuggles and delicious coffees and teas. While it’s no different than the other myriad cat cafes in Taiwan and neighboring countries, there’s something special about visiting the first of its kind and the cats wouldn’t have it any other way.
If you enjoy animals of a smaller nature than cats and dogs, enter Okunoshima. Also known as Rabbit Island, Okunoshima, Japan is covered in friendly rabbits, the descendants of those that were released at the end of WWI. While they’re not technically anyone’s pets, they are friendly enough to be touched and seem to enjoy the company of people.
The idea of animal themed islands isn’t a foreign concept in Japan as the famous Deer Island, Miyajima, is one of the most popular tourist sites in the country.
Via The Discoverer Blog