Welcome to Kuching, the Cat City

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The world has gone crazy for cats. From online videos to photo sharing sites, content creators are trying to capitalise on the popularity of our feline friends. Businesses are also trying to take advantage of this in the form of cat cafes and cat libraries. But did you know Sarawak has always understood the significance of cats in culture? Introducing Kuching, the cat city.

Kuching – which is the Malay word for cat – is the official capital city of Sarawak. Legend has it that Kuching got its name when James Brooke – the first White Rajah of Sarawak – pointed to a location in the year 1839 and asked where it was. Kuching was the reply as the locals mistakenly thought Brooke was referring to a cat that was passing by.

Another story relates that Kuching’s name came from the fruit longan. Longan is widely available in Sarawak and is called Mata Kucing (cat’s eye) by the locals.

Kuching, as its name implies, is home to many cats but a few stand out from the rest. Cat statues are located all across town, each with their own significant story and history. These feline statues are a definite must for those looking for their next viral social media post.

The most popular out of these is the big white cat sculpture located at Padungan street. This cat is known to be quite the fashionista, changing its outfit multiple times a year to join in with whatever celebration is taking place in Sarawak. It continued to showcase its fashion sense during the Covid-19 pandemic with the changing of fashionable medical masks in line with festivals.

The White Cat statue at Padungan in Kuching wearing a face mask and holding a banner from the Kuching South City Council reminding the public to stay at home. - ZULAZHAR SHEBLEE / THE STAR - COVID19

Go west along Padungan road and you can see the emblem of Kuching – four white lucky cats sitting on a stone platform waving their paws at you.

Cat Statues at Padungan

Travel down Tunku Abdul Rahman Road and you will be treated to a sculpture of a family of cats. Seven small kittens are playing under the watchful care of two adult cats.

The sculpture of a family of cats at Tunku Abdul Rahman Road.

The sculpture of a family of cats at Tunku Abdul Rahman Road.

Cat Museum

Apart from cat statues, Kuching is also home to the world’s first cat museum. This museum contains any information that you might want to know relating to cats and this is the perfect place to start if you want to know more about Sarawak’s Cat City.

Entrance to the Cat Museum located in Kuching, Sarawak

Entrance to the Cat Museum located in Kuching, Sarawak

There are all kinds of cat artwork and information with regards to the history of cats in this museum. Collections range from local creations and stories to those from other countries. There are also exhibits showcasing celebrity cats such as Hello Kitty, Garfield and Doraemon. The gift shop stocks plenty of cat merchandise.

The beauty and charm of cats are deeply intwined into Kuching. You can experience for yourself how much people here truly love and adore their town and the animal that shares its name. This is definitely not a place to be missed for cat lovers.

 

 

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