At one time, the village of Houtong was a thriving mining community, but when the mining pits closed in the 1990s, most people left. Jian Peiling, the village founder, became a cat photographer who went by the name of Mrs. Kitten. Peiling noticed the large number of stray cats and and organised volunteers to support the cats and to arrange for their vaccinations.
Now the village has nearly twice as many cats as humans. People volunteer to help with veterinary needs, including vaccinations, spaying and neutering. Since many people visit the village specifically to see the cats, many village shops sell cat treats so you can feed the stray cats and keep them well-fed.