Their Untold Stories – Taipei Cat Village
He turned around to look at me one last time.
“You really won’t come with me?”
I stare back at him silently like I usually do. I can see ambition pulling him away from me, towards a brighter future. This future now shines before him, his familiar figure casting a shadow over me.
“This doesn’t have to be the end. We can start anew together. We can build a new home together.” He tries to persuade me one last time with a weak smile. But the sad look in his eyes tells a different story; he already knows whatever he says will be futile.
But it’s too late. I have already decided.
He’s not the type to cry. The struggles he had to go through working in the mines away from his family had hardened his heart. I was the only one here for him. He’s not the type to cry.
No. I’m the one that is sorry. I wanted to say. I’m sorry for not coming with you.
But I just can not. This is my home, this is where all our memories are, and I just cannot abandon it. I know it’s different for him, because he can easily create new memories, and a new home. But it’s just not the same. That is something he and I will never be able understand about each other.
He kisses me on the cheeks and puts me back down.
“I will never forget you.” He grabs his luggage.
Taiwan’s Houtong Cat Village is a popular tourist destination that attracts many visitors to see adorable free-roaming cats, take Instagram worthy photos and visit stylish cafes tucked away in the corners of the streets.
But behind these picturesque streets hides the bittersweet history of the place. Houtong used to be a prosperous mining town that attracted many young people for work.
At its peak, there were more than 6000 people living in this little village. By the end of the 1990’s the mining industry declined and business dropped dramatically. There was only a bleak future for those who stayed, and not surprisingly, majority left the town for better prospects.
The story goes that the cats of these men stayed behind and with their newfound freedom they overtook the town.
It was only until 2008 before a group of volunteers took initiatives to bring attention to this now cat-dominated village in order to raise money and help support that cats.
Now these lovely furry creatures await curious wanders to visit them at their hidden haven in the mountains. Will you be one of them?