Kuching’s Horribly Wonderful Cat Museum

Cat Museum featured image

As a child, I was extremely besotted by cats. The word ‘obsessed’ would not be inaccurate.

I collected cat figurines, obviously, which were prominently displayed in my bedroom. Once there was a tornado warning so I wrapped them individually in paper towels, placed them lovingly in shoeboxes, and tucked them into the corner of my closet.

The tornado never came, but I had been ready.

I kept a scrapbook dedicated to all things cat, from ‘Garfield’ cartoons to headlines pulled straight out of the National Enquirer (CAT BORN WITH HUMAN FACE). In the fifth grade we had to write an essay about time travel; if I could go back to any period in history, when would I go? I wrote my way straight to ancient Egypt, where cats were treated as the gods intended.

Somehow, though, a major point of interest passed me right by: in 1993, right at my cat peak, the world’s first museum dedicated to cats was opened in Kuching, Malaysia.

I continued to be oblivious to this fact until the evening of March 11th, 2016. Thanks to the ‘Things to do’ section of the Hilton Kuching’s information booklet, I learned what I should have been aware of for the previous 23 years. Not only was there a cat museum, but Kuching was informally known as ‘Cat City.’

The cat museum is located in Kuching North City Hall, which is approximately 9km out of the city center. The taxi driver was chatty, and made sure to mention any points of interest on the way there (the TV station! the respectable Natural History Museum! the river!). He then offered to wait for me, which was handy because there were no taxis at the cat museum. All up the taxi cost me RM 59 (~$15USD), a bargain for what I experienced.

The museum’s location within the building was immediately made clear.

Cat Museum Kuching

This *might* be it.

Entry to the museum is free, though if you wish to take photos (YOU DO) a small fee is required. I paid RM 3.00 (about 0.75 US cents) to use my iPhone. Had I brought a proper camera it would have cost RM 4.00. I wish I’d had my camera as the lighting is fairly terrible in there, but alas we will have to make do with what I’m about to present to you.

Now. This museum.

It was like my 10-year-old self had acquired the financial resources of a mildly successful adult, and used those dollars to travel the world, collecting anything and everything to do with cats.

There were posters GALORE, many of which I recognized from my childhood bedroom walls. Most were printed with phrases designed to make you laugh, make you cry, and make you think.

Perlorian cats

This picture is from a book series called ‘Perlorian Cats,’ WHICH I OWNED AS A CHILD. #fullcircle

 

Cat and God poster

YOU DID. YOU MOVED.

(Sorry about all of the capital letters but I can’t help it, this museum makes me want to shout.)

I drifted from room to room, following the pawprints on the floor for guidance. It is safe to say I was awestruck. Had I not had to attend an education expo back in the city that afternoon, I could have spent over an hour there, easily.

Cat Museum Kuching beckoning cats

Such a thoughtful display.

Cat and mouse display

So lifelike it takes your breath away.

cat picture Kuching

Stunning.

Cats poster

FINALLY I get a selfie with the entire original cast of CATS. Bucket List COMPLETE.

Before you start to believe that the cat museum is solely a source of joy, allow me to correct you. It is also a place of terror and sadness. Like humans, cats too are mortal, which means that eventually those nine lives are going to run out.

The museum had a couple of suggestions for how you might like to remember your beloved pet. First, consider erecting a memorial garden.

Cat tombstone

A somber reminder of the heartache cats can bring us.

Second, why not visit an expert taxidermist? Once they’ve worked their magic you might even forget that your pet is deceased. I know the word ‘lifelike’ keeps popping up in this post, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s for good reason.

Stuffed cats

So cuddly!

There was one area in particular where I felt the cat museum missed its mark, and that was with its catwalk. It was a tenuous link to begin with, highlighting the connection between cats walking and catwalks, but the museum took a risk and placed several horrible mannequins in a glass box.

Cat museum model

Sweet baby Jesus. I can practically hear it moaning.

My true moment of terror came when I naively wandered into the Cat Cave. Looking back, perhaps I should have guessed that it would be as realistic as the rest of the museum, but I didn’t. I was completely caught off guard by the deafening roars of various wild beasts, hidden from sight but not from sound.

Of course the whole thing was inadvertently caught on camera. For an in-depth look at the cat museum and my scared face, you are in luck because I saved the day’s snap story.

My only regret is that I didn’t bring along five friends, clearly necessary in order to have the full DBKU Cat Museum experience.

Cat face board

Such a missed opportunity.

Next time, Cat Museum. Next time.

 

6 Responses to “Kuching’s Horribly Wonderful Cat Museum”

  1. Laughing so hard it hurts. YOU DID. YOU MOVED. I feel like I didn’t appreciate this museum enough when I went in 2011 (I was not nearly the cat person then that I am now).

    • This museum was a masterpiece. Though I think being a cat person does allow one to appreciate it in a more profound way. Otherwise it’s just a really weird collection of cats.

  2. You always find the best places to visit! I would have loved this too! It reminds me a bit of Haw Par Villa Park in Singapore. Well meaning, but totally messed up in every way! 🙂

    • I just googled Haw Par Villa Park and it has the most hilarious tagline on the website: “Take in unforgettable attractions, like Haw Park Villa, that showcase our heritage and beliefs.” But your last sentence would probably be a more accurate slogan!

  3. This was the best thing to start my Friday. THE.BEST.

    “It was like my 10-year-old self had acquired the financial resources of a mildly successful adult, and used those dollars to travel the world, collecting anything and everything to do with cats.”

    I don’t know why I found that a particularly entertaining thought. I bet thats what child you had envisioned for yourself.

    • It would have completely blown my mind as a child. Walking in there really was like walking into my dreams of the past. I can’t get over it.

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