Cat City, Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia
“The cat could very well be man’s best friend but would never stoop to admitting it.”
— Doug Larson
The city of Kuching may not have been literally built by cats, but its certainly built its tourism reputation on the backs of them. Cat statues, cat souvenirs, and cat attractions inhabit a remarkable amount of real estate here. In fact, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting something feline-themed. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one.)
Even though I am not a cat person (I come from a long line of dog folk), I do appreciate a healthy dose of quirkiness in the places I visit, and if that quirkiness takes the form of cats, then who am I to judge?
I’ve seen too many 80s horror movies to not know what cats are really up to, but the good citizens of Kuching in Borneo’s Sarawak province are not dissuaded — they are pure, unapologetic cat people.
And. Cats. Are. Everywhere.
Cat Scratch Fever
So what exactly is the deal with all the cat craziness in Kuching? For one, the city’s name is derived from the Malay word for cat — kucing. Kuching/kucing, po-TAY-to/po-TAH-to, you get the picture.
There’s a Cat Museum run by North City Hall. (There’s also a South City Hall, so don’t head to wrong the one.) Not sure why they need two city halls, maybe a bit of cat-fighting by local politicians? The Cat Museum is free of charge to enter, and houses over 4000 cat-related artifacts.
Kuching Cat Museum (Image: patrikk via Flickr)
And it’s not just city hall that’s captivated by cats.
If higher education is what you’re after, you can get your degree at I-CATS — the International College of Advanced Technology Sarawak.
Kuching Cat Sculpture (Image: byte via Flickr)
Knowing a good bandwagon when they see one, a local radio station goes by the call letters CATS FM, where I hear that the “Hot 100” is called the “In Heat 100.” (Sorry, couldn’t resist that one either.)
And of course, what self-respecting cat-crazed city would be complete without a cat café. Meow Meow Café, opened in 2014, is the only place in town where you can sip on a latte, and then slip some catnip to the resident kitties.
Meow Meow Cat Café (Image courtesy of LindySim.com)
Not to be outdone by those Cat Museum mongering northerners, the South City Hall has its own fine feline — the nine-foot tall Giant Cat of Kuching. Big Kitty receives a makeover during holidays, donning a red vest for Chinese New Year, a green one for Eid-Fitr, and the full Santa Clause treatment for Christmas,
And if you’ve ever wondered what that raised paw means (I know you’ve seen them at Chinese restaurants), this blog post gives a great rundown on decoding the lucky cat.
Now isn’t that the cat’s meow?
If you’re planning on heading to Kuching, check out HotelsCombined for the best possible pricing on hotel rooms. It compares all the major travel booking sites to find the lowest price on offer, plus there are no booking fees.
What do you think of Cat City Kuching? Leave a comment in the section below, (Unless of course, cat’s got your tongue.)
If you want to help out the cats (or even the dogs) of Kuching, support the SSPCA (Sarawak Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)