Once you catch the cat fever, the remedy is to go cat statue hunting. – Someone, probably.
Malaysia’s cat city may have embraced its feline name wholeheartedly but did you know that its name may not come from the Malay word for ‘cat’ after all? Although there are many theories as to how the city got its name (from the name of a stream to derivation of another port city Cochin), critics are quick to refute claims that the word comes from ‘kucing’ as the Sarawakian Malay word for ‘cat’ is pusak.
No matter the origin, Kuchingites are proud of their city’s feline association and have incorporated cat elements into various aspects of their city. There is I-CATS, the International College of Advanced Technology Sarawak, the Quiik Cat bed and breakfast, Meow Meow Cat Café, and Sarawak’s first private radio station, Cats FM, in addition to manhole covers with cat motif, murals and statues. In peak basic tourist fashion, we’ve hunted down 7 cat statues of Kuching you can find during your next visit to the Sarawak capital.
Kuching North City Hall Family Cat Statue
The most iconic amongst all the cat statues of Kuching, the Kuching North City Hall Family Cat Statue is strategically located along Kuching waterfront where a lot of shopping complexes and hotels like the Grand Margherita are located. Featuring a playful litter with pensive parents, the fountain lights up at night, making it just as interesting during any time of the day.
Kuching South City Council Cat Statue
Bandar Kuching is managed by two different city councils – the North City Hall and the South City Council. Also known as the Padungan Roundabout Cat Statue, the Kuching South City Council Cat Statue was built by – you guessed it – the Kuching South City Council, similar to the iconic cat family installation. However, this statue of a friendly white cat waving is the first of the cat statues to ever be built in the city and is dear to all Kuchingites. Built in the 90s, this cat statue sits in front of the gateway to enter Jalan Padungan and is dressed up in various traditional outfits depending on the celebration.
Chan Chin Ann Cat Tower
The foursome cats that surround the column between Jalan Chan Chin Ann and Jalan Padungan are miniature versions of their larger aforementioned cousin, frozen in the similar waving pose. Another installation by the South City Council, the totem also features traditional Sarawak motif and the rafflesia flower.
Kuching Waterfront Bronze Cats
An installation by the Cat Museum of Kuching, 9 cats flank a pole providing information about the museum and its opening hours. Made of bronze, these playful kitties are shown lounging around and entrapping a rat in front of the James Brooke Bistro & Café.
Malaysia-China Friendship Garden Cat Statue
This adorable pair of ‘lovecats’ call the Malaysia-China Friendship Garden, located not far from the Kuching International Airport, home. Built in 2005 on an impressive 2.8 hectares of land, the park was funded by the governments of Malaysia and China.
Scrap Metal Cat Statue by UiTM Kuching
Affectionately known as ‘Kucing Transformers’ by locals, this Scrap Metal Cat Statue built by students from UiTM Sarawak Faculty of Arts and Design is located at Kuching Esplanade, by the entrance of Kuching’s India Street. The scrap metal for the project was provided by Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) and the sculpture was completed in 2015, making the it the latest amongst the cat statues of Kuching.
A must-visit for all cat lovers, the Muzium Kucing Kuching was built in 1993 and is owned by the Kuching North City Hall (DBKU). A large cat façade greets patrons by the door, which leads to over 4,000 cat-related artefacts including paintings and a mummified cat from ancient Egypt. The museum is free to the public, but there is a charge for photography.
*All images of the cat statues of Kuching are by UPPRE, unless stated otherwise.