The state capital of Malaysia’s Sarawak, Kuching is known as the City of Cats. There are numerous quirky cat statues located around the city, as well as a large piece of feline street art. But what if you can’t get enough of Kuching’s cat-mosphere? Head to the one-of-a-kind and unique Cat Museum!
With pretty much anything and everything related to cats, it is a great place for moggie-lovers. Even if you are more of a dog person, you are sure to find this unusual museum fascinating. It is home to the biggest collection of cat memorabilia in the world, and contains heaps of information about the exhibits and cats in general.
So, what can you expect?
Enter through the gaping mouth of a giant cat
Admission to the museum is through turnstiles surrounded by a huge cat mouth! Imagine you’re a tiny mouse as you walk through the giant jaws and have fun taking pictures in all manner of poses as you stand within the furry cat’s mouth. The boggling eyes are simultaneously hilarious and a bit freaky!
Turn yourself into a cute and fluffy kitty
A large statue opposite the information counter allows you and your friends to poke your faces through the holes and transform yourselves into four-legged creatures. Perhaps you think your features would look cool on a tabby cat. Maybe a ginger moggie appeals to you more. Or maybe you fancy being a sleek black cat for a moment. In fact, why spend time deciding what would suit you best when you can have a giggle trying them all out?!
Admire all shapes and sizes of cat statues
Kuching’s Cat museum is jam-packed with cat figures in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours, and materials. From tiny and cute kitties to larger-than-life statues, all bases are covered. Porcelain, plastic, wood, and fabric are just a few of the materials used. You can even see cats made from small seashells! Many of the smaller ornaments sit on lavish cloth within large glass display cabinets, whilst larger ones are free-standing on the floor or within the cases on sturdy wooden blocks.
Pay attention and you’ll spot famous cats too, such as Garfield. Hello Kitty is also represented, despite Sanrio’s fairly recent (and quite shocking!) revelations that she isn’t actually a cat!
There are also heaps of stuffed cuddly cats to admire.
Learn more about cats in different cultures
Several cultures from across the globe have attached great significance to the furry creatures. In Ancient Egypt, for example, cats were seen as incredibly special with god-like characteristics. You can learn more about how cats have been perceived around the world throughout the ages and also see how cats are displayed by different countries.
There is a large collection of the Asian waving cat, known as maneki-neko in Japanese. Believed to bring good luck and encourage prosperity, you may have noticed this type of cat on display in businesses and at shrines. Whilst some are motionless, with their left paw raised in a beckoning posture, you can watch those that gently swing their paw in an inviting and welcoming gesture.
See all manner of feline advertising and products
The well-organised displays showcase how cats have been used to represent a huge number of brands and items. See products that have featured cats within their advertising campaigns and images, with items as diverse as tobacco, magazines, and clothing. Unsurprisingly, there is also a section dedicated to cat food and cat-care products. Cats on stamps, cats in literature … it’s all covered!
See how cat images have been used to decorate a vast assortment of common items, including tea pots, dish clothes, t-shirts, cushion covers, scarves, bags, and even shoes and eye masks!
Step into the Cat Cave for a sensory experience
The dark and gloomy Cat Cave beckons! Filled with large statues of different types of big cat, surround yourself by leopards, wild cats, cheetahs, tigers, and more. Booming roars, growling purrs, shrill squeaks, angry hisses, and ear-piercing yowls fill the air. It is easy to imagine that you have stumbled into a wild lair.
Practicalities of visiting the Cat Museum
The Cat Museum is located on the ground floor of the striking Kuching North City Hall Headquarters Building. Sitting on top of a hill, you can enjoy sweeping views from outside. A short way from the city centre, the bottom of the hill can be reached by public bus in around 15 to 20 minutes. You will then need to walk up the hill for a further ten minutes or so. A more convenient way of getting to the museum is by taxi. A round trip, including the driver’s waiting time whilst you explore, will cost around 60 – 70 MYR (approximately 14 – 16.50 USD).
With loads to look at and absorb, it is recommended to allow at least an hour in the museum, although it is entirely possible for avid cat-lovers to spend a good couple of hours browsing the numerous displays and collections. Others, however, may find that they are done with the kitsch collection in 15 minutes.
Admission to the Cat Museum is free! Yes, that’s right; it won’t cost a single cent to enjoy the cat craziness! You will, however, need to pay a small fee if you wish to take photographs. A camera permit is 3 MYR (approximately 0.70 USD) per person, and it will cost 5 MYR (approximately 1.20 USD) if you wish to use video recording equipment.
Other peculiarities of the Cat Museum
Towards the end of the displays is a collection of real stuffed cats. Not toy cats, but actual cats that were once live and have now been preserved for the world to see. A cat skeleton is both fascinating and quite sad to see. A small cat cemetery is also sure to pull on the heart strings for anyone who has ever lost a beloved pet.
There are gift counters where you can take away a little piece of the feline fun, with items such as bags, clothing, key rings, pencils, pictures, and fridge magnets.
Visit the Cat Museum for an unusual and memorable attraction whilst visiting Kuching.
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