If quirky is your taste and the cat is your animal spirit, then you must visit Kuching Cat Museum. If there was a group of cat lovers out there combining together their cats memorabilia of cats, the place would look exactly like this museum.
Founded in 1993, Kuching Cat Museum run by Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) was an idea mooted by current Sarawak governor Abdul Taib Mahmud and his late wife Laila Taib who thought of having a museum dedicated to nothing but cats.
The museum is located in Petra Jaya on the bottom floor of the DBKU building which is about 20 minutes from Kuching city. Standing tall at 60 meters above sea level, the building also offers great view of Petra Jaya and Kuching city.
The Kuching Cat Museum is divided into four galleries; Gallery A, B, C, and D.
Gallery A of Kuching Cat Museum
Cats play significant role in many communities around the world including the Malay, Chinese as well as the Iban in Sarawak.
In the olden days, some Malays believed that one of the most effective way to call for rain was to soak a cat in a pan of water… It is certainly not something we would encourage people to do nowadays, but this is one of the many cat-related superstitions one can learn at Kuching Cat Museum.
Here at Gallery A of the museum, visitors can also learn about the famous Japanese lucky cat, maneki-neko.
It is a common figurine depicting a calico Japanese bobtail which is often believed to bring good luck to the owner.
Gallery B of Kuching Cat Museum
In this part of the museum, visitors can know about interesting cat facts in oriental arts, medieval age and ancient Egypt.
Do you know that in China, cats are usually portrayed as a child’s gentle playmate? Meanwhile, the Japanese prefer to associate cats with women.
Additionally, this museum is one of the few places in the world which featured the works of Malaysian artist Jane Yap Jian Yi.
Graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Japanese Painting from Takasaki Art Center College, cats have been the only subject that she has featured in her work since 2000.
Apart from Kuching Cat Museum, her works are also displayed in Club Med Kabira, Japan and many private collections in China, Malaysia, Tahiti and the US.
Gallery C of Kuching Cat Museum
We cannot talk about cats without mentioning them in popular culture. Felines have inspired humankind in many artistic ways from poems to songs, and even Broadway musicals.
Visitors can find the poem “Lost Words to a Dumb Friend” by Thomas Hardy at this museum.
Large portions of the artifacts displayed at the museum were donated by cat lovers from around the world. One of them is Dr Betty Jamie Chung from Hong Kong.
She visited Kuching Cat Museum in the 90s and was left impressed by the collection. Later after her death in October 2013, Dr Chung donated 539 cat artifacts to the museum.
Gallery D of Kuching Cat Museum
Speaking of popular culture, Gallery D of the museum featured more famous felines around the world such as Garfield and Hello Kitty.
Visitors can also browse through comic strips featuring cats for their own amusement at this part of the museum.
There is also an exhibition of local and wild cats of Borneo if you want to learn more about these animals.
For example, some of the interesting observations of Sarawak cats are that 15% of them have short tail, 50% kinked tail, 25% bobbed tail while 10% or less have long tails.
Another fun fact about this museum is that it houses the only complete Bay Cat (Pardofelis badia) skeleton in the world.
Found in Borneo, it is one of the rarest cat species in the world.
On top of wide collection of cats artifacts, Kuching Cat Museum also paid tribute to famous cat lovers around the world including French poet Charles Pierre Baudelaire, Sir Isaac Newton and Anne Frank.
For cat lovers with great appreciation for arts and patience for reading fun facts and cat-related general knowledge, Kuching Cat Museum is definitely worth the trip.