Kuching. The City Of Cats.

Kuching the Cat City, Malaysian Borneo

I didn’t know what to expect when I first arrived in Borneo on a short hop flight from Kuala Lumpur, but it certainly wasn’t a city devoted to and revolving entirely around cats! Discovering Kuching in Borneo was a true travel adventure that I will never forget!

When I decided to fly to Kuching on a whim, I probably had the same visions in my head that most people do when they think of Borneo. Thick impenetrable jungle, unexplored tropical wildernesses filled with Orang-utans, wildlife, traditional longhouses and tribesmen in traditional dress. I had romantic notions of a golden age of exploration, of rediscovering a place whose name alone still evoked such powerful and evocative images.

So arriving in Kuching for the first time was in some way everything I had imagined, and in other ways a complete and utter shock.

Finding More Than I Imagined.

The heavily gentrified streets were a world away from the organized chaos of Kuala Lumpur I had just left, they were clean, well maintained and well planned. The river was overlooked with a gentrified promenade filled with picturesque eateries and blessed with stunning views perfect for relaxing evening meals, and modern glass and chrome buildings sat comfortably within the facade of faded charm that made up the rest of the city.

Yet despite all this – for what is technically a small city – Kuching retained an almost small town, edge of civilisation outpost feel. And I loved it.

As much as the gentrified modernity surprised me in Kuching it was the atmosphere and sheer uniqueness of time and place that gave me that sense of wander and exploration I was hoping for.

A Feline Feeling.

Kuching had a laid back, sanguine feeling that permeated through every pore of the city that really hit me, it simply oozed an unflappable, unhurried air of complete contentedness. Whether the feline like atmosphere was intentional or whether it was an indirect influence from the countless cats making their home here I couldn’t tell, but one thing I did know instantly, the city and her feline inhabitants are inextricably linked and cats are absolutely worshipped here!

In all my travels I have never seen anything quite like Kuching.

Like the locations in the fantasy novels I read as a child, where the hero finds a strange city of cat people in the middle of the jungle worshipping a feline deity, I had walked into a city that was so unique it genuinely felt like a rare, hidden discovery on some epic tale of a grand voyage!

Cat Statue Kuching Malaysian Borneo

Kuching is a city built around and for cats, a city completely devoted to our feline friends, from the countless small cat statues dotted throughout the city to the larger feline sculptures that are dressed up for specific religious and cultural festivals. It has a cat cafe, of course, there are countless cat souvenirs sold in every shop and market, and even and entire cat museum built to showcase and honour everything feline. Even the name, Kuching, literaly means cat city!

Cat Statue Kuching Malaysian Borneo

As someone who loves seeing the unique and quirky side of anywhere I visit, Kuching absolutely blew my mind, and as a cat lover myself, (how could I not be when one saved my life in Cairo?) I absolutely fell in love with the laid back city of Kuching and stayed a lot longer than I originally intended to.

Just as the countless cats and kittens I met strolling around the town and napping lazily along the gentrified riverbank, spending a few extra languid days in this amazing and beautiful city was just far too hard to resist.

Waterfront Kuching Malaysian Borneo

Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or please join in the discussion on my Facebook or Twitter pages, and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons and spread the word.

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Hotel Review: The Lime Tree Hotel, Kuching, Sarawak.

Palm Oil Is Burning Borneo.

Responsible Orang Utan Spotting In Semenggoh Wildlife Centre.

Michael Huxley is a published author, professional adventurer and founder of the travel website, Bemused Backpacker. He has spent the last twenty years travelling to over 100 countries on almost every continent, slowly building Bemused Backpacker into a successful business after leaving a former career in emergency nursing and travel medicine, and continues to travel the world on numerous adventures every year.

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Posted in Destinations
10 comments on “Kuching. The City Of Cats.
  1. Jakartass says:

    Backpackers intending to visit Kuching would do well to first read up on its major historical significance. Start with James Brooke the first White Rajah of Sarawak, who made Kuching Sarawak’s capital. Brooke invited Alfred Wallace to visit, and thus set in train the seminal ‘Malay Archipelago’; Wallace’s letter to Darwin gave him the eureka moment for ‘Origin of the Species’. BTW. ‘Kuching’ is Malaysian (and Indonesian) for ‘cat’.

  2. I love it when you come across places like this on your travels – it totally makes a trip for me. Unfortunately I think my cat allergies may not make this city ideal for me!

    • Aw you’re allergic? I feel for you I couldn’t imagine not being able to cuddle and stroke a cat! You are right though, I love it when you come across places like this too, completely unexpected but blows you away! One of the true joys of independent travel! Thanks for the comment.

  3. Aww a city full of cats! I think my heart’s going to explode! I need to go there now! Are actual cats all around the place too or is it literally just statues?

    • Haha yes they really are everywhere! I love cats too and half my days there were spent just stroking random cats. I even shared half my meals with them! There’s even a cat cafe if you want to have a cup of tea with them. 🙂

  4. TheBohoChica says:

    What a fascinating story! I’ve never heard of a cat city before. I’m really interested, why are cats worshipped here?

  5. This is totally new to me 🙂 Nice read 🙂 its all raining CATS!!

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Hi, I'm Michael! I'm a former nurse turned published author and world travelling professional adventurer! I have spent over twenty years travelling over 100 countries and I want to inspire you to do the same! Want to know more about me? Just click here!

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