Beijing isn’t the most friendly place for animals. You’ll find relatively dirty streets filled with dirtier stray cats. Stray dogs are not as common, but when they are sen they are best avoided. It’s unlikely that they will have rabies, but they are still diseased in a different way and although you’ll probably want to rub the poor dear behind the ears restrain yourself! Some of the contagious animal diseases can be transferred back to your home country on your clothing. The same goes for cats you find on the street.
If you want to check out animals in captive in Beijing, the local zoo isn’t bad. Still, you’ll find a few of the conditions to be sub-par. Namely, the large cat enclosures, which are about the same size as the cats themselves. You’ll also find the aviary to be a bit disturbing, as it’s covered in bird feces, dirty and many of the exhibits are empty. Likewise, the reptile zone is a bit lacking, and many of the reptiles are stuffed.
One area where the zoo didn’t skimp is the panda exhibit. You can pay a bit extra to get in, and a bit more still to hold a baby panda for a cute photo op. Pandas are big business in the Middle Kingdom, and especially to the local tourism industry.
Some of the aquariums in town are tops, including the Beijing aquarium. This joint has some awesome sea creatures, including some unique to Asia.
Finally, you can see animals at the Bird and Pet Market. However, most of these adorable animals are not long for this world as the markets are rife with disease. We recommend highly that you not purchase anything from this area. It is a good photo journey, however.