TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — New Taipei has begun rebranding its Houtong Village, which is home to a large feline population, with the establishment of a Cat Public Office on Thursday (April 8).
The facility seeks to improve the well-being for the village’s roaming cats through tracking, healthcare, and microchip implants, among other services. It will also serve as the coordination center for volunteer patrols to monitor the furry residents, according to the Animal Protection and Health Inspection Office.
The building, decorated with a kitty theme in mind, was previously an information center educating visitors about the stray cats and providing advice on how they can better interact with the animals. The transformation signals a pivot to a more cat-centric approach as part of the city government’s effort to promote animal welfare.
The Cat Public Office will feature an area for cultivating catnip, a plant that helps felines reduce their stress. While working to make the Houtong Village a cat paradise, the government is pleading with the public against abandoning cats at the shelter.
The increasing cat population has transformed Houtong from a derelict coal-mining site into a tourist magnet in northern Taiwan. The village recorded around 300 cats in a 2019 survey. Many of them were ditched by their owners, which caused great concern and led to a ramped-up campaign to raise awareness on the importance of feline care.
New Taipei establishes Cat Public Office in Houtong (New Taipei City photo)
(YouTube, New Taipei City Government video)