Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Around The World In 80 Cats #26: Myanmar

(tarotastic, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Cats delight in seeing their humans jump through hoops (and not the other way around), so it might come as a surprise that a group of well-trained kitties were able to turn a small Southeast Asian monastery into an internationally known tourist destination through their high-flying antics.

(antwerpenRCC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The images of monks (and women) herding majestic kitties through hoops come from Nga Phe Kyaung Monastery in Lake Inle, Myanmar (Burma). The Buddhist temple which has been around since the 1850s and is known for its collection of Buddha statues, became more popularly referred to as "The Jumping Cat Monastery," after travelers learned that the monks, who apparently had some extra time on their hands, trained the cats to jump through tiny hoops in exchange for treats. 

(lamentablesCC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

(lamentablesCC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

(lamentablesCC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

(pyjamaCC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Unfortunately, visitors still hoping to get a glimpse of the athletic felines are in for a disappointment. Several recent reviews, including one by Saranger, report that the performances ceased after the head monk passed away, leaving a new leader "who doesn't believe it proper for monks to train cats to perform tricks for tourists."

(fabulousfabsCC BY 2.0)

All is not lost for cat lovers hoping to get their kitty fix while visiting Myanmar. Inthar Heritage House is a restaurant, which also houses a cattery involved in the Burmese Cat Reintroduction Program, created to "perpetuate the heritage and national treasure which bear the Burmese name." Guests are not allowed in the Breeding Center and "maternity" ward, but are welcome to visit another part of the resort where the regal felines live.

(fabulousfabsCC BY 2.0)

The destination has earned favorable reviews on TripAdvisor from cat enthusiasts like comcox, who write: "Downstairs from the restauant is the cattery where the most amazing Burmese cats reside...You are welcome to enter the cats' areas and they love to play, especially with shoelaces. Sales at the small gift shop upstairs go to supporting the project."

(fabulousfabsCC BY 2.0)

Casa62 also gushes: "A highlight was going downstairs and visiting the Burmese Cat Village. They have day and night enclosures and their own island accessible by bridge with little houses for sleeping and playing. The cats looked healthy and content, a must visit for any cat lover."

Know of any cat-themed travel destinations, or have any cool kitty vacation pics to share? Drop me a line at!



Unknown said...

I want to visit here so badly, what beautiful cats!

Unknown said...

This is now on my to-do list! How fabulous!!

Noëlle said...

Most awesome place ever! Sad they're not performing anymore though.

Liz H said...

I need to train Matthew Cat how to do this. He is very nimble. :)

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