The City that Cats Built

Posted by - January 8, 2015 | Category: Peculiarities

Cat City, Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia

“The cat could very well be man’s best friend but would never stoop to admitting it.”

— Doug Larson

Cat statue, Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia

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 and in other places like Canada which a vancouver realtor recommends to visit. In fact, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting something feline-themed. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one.)

Cat City, Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia-640

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?

Cat City, Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia-644

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 City, Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia-643

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, Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo, MalaysiaKuching 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.

Cat sculpture, Kuching waterfront, Sarawak, Borneo, MalaysiaKuching 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 Cafe, Kuching, Sarawak, Borneo, MalaysiaMeow Meow Cat Café (Image courtesy of

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,

Cat sculpture, City, Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia

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?

Antique bed Hotel PhotoIf 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. 

Click here to see the latest pricing on hotels in Kuching.

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)

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The City That Cats Built -- Kuching, Borneo, Malaysia


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34 comments - add one
  1. I am an ‘all’ animal person as I like anything with fur. I do cat rescue so I would likely enjoy this crazy place. Quirky, you betcha!

    You go to some interesting places , came here last night and spent hours reading.

  2. Wow, this is awesome! I love cats… the top of my to-do list when I visited Seoul was going to a cat cafe, so I would go nuts in Kuching. Thanks for all the cat puns too… lol!

  3. I love-love cats, but I feel like this may be too much, haha. I would head straight to the cat-cafe, to see some actual cats. Love the puns, btw! 😀

  4. I love Kuching! It is one of my favourite cities in South East Asia 🙂 Yes, it may be partly due that I was raised with cats – but more so for the kindness of the people living there. They seem untainted by tourism, and are genuinely friendly and helpful without any expectations in return.

    With respect to them choosing cats over dogs… it does make sense, as dogs in Islam are ‘haraam’ or impure, so it is looked down upon to be in contact with them. However, Kuching definitely took it to the extreme!

    1. Kuching is a lovely city indeed Ian. It’s the type of place where you could spend weeks exploring — it’s got such a great vibe.

      I know what you mean about the dogs. I spent almost 2 years in Oman and that’s one thing I almost never heard — dogs barking. Now that I’m in Portugal that’s pretty much all I hear. 🙂

  5. Congratulates for so cool blog , Is is rally interesting and with beautiful graphics .This city is the best for my , I love cats ,just I sad that so far from my .

  6. “The cat could very well be man’s best friend but would never stoop to admitting it.” –> hahahah I love this quote. So so true.

  7. I met a guy from Kuching in Hong Kong and he explained to me that the city was named after a hill that purportedly resembled a cat — you know just how imaginative people can be. Hence Kuching. I’m a cat person and I would love to visit this city one day just because.

  8. I’ve just come back from a 10 day holiday in and near Sandakan in Sabah, Borneo, and was intrigued by the number of cats at the various places we visited – even the lodge on the Kinabatangan River had a couple. And they are so tiny, compared to my two big monsters at home. I will have to go back to Malaysia so I can visit Kuching.


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