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Kuching in Malaysia is a place where both people and visitors see the presence of cats everywhere, from the name to the sights.

The cat city haunts both the people and the tourists who come to Malaysia

Kuching is the capital and most populous city of the state of Sarawak, Malaysia. Not many people know about the reason Kuching city is named after a cat, most of which are legends and judgments. Cat images are deeply rooted in the life of the city, from history to culture and modern life.

Mèo có ở khắp mọi nơi tại Kuching. Ảnh: Grant Dixon

Cats are everywhere in Kuching. Photo by Grant Dixon

In Kuching, somewhere you can see cats. From the airport to the city, just outside the Chinatown ring road, a giant white cat waved to visitors. On the sidewalk near the mosque, a cat-like family stares at the passersby. Cats with street art are decorated with spray paint around the buildings.

Located just north of Kuching City Hall, the Cat Museum is the most special place in the city if you want to learn about cats as well as their connection to the city located on the island of Borneo, where the floating capital Tongue with orangutans. Amir, who works at the Cat Museum, said: “The obsession with cats in this place originates from the name of the city. The word ‘kucing’ means ‘cats’ in Malay. “

Standing next to the many exhibits depicting the cat’s 5,000-year history, Amir explains some of the theories behind the birth of the name “Kuching.” Some believe that when Sarawak’s first ruler, an Englishman named James Brooke, arrived in Kuching around 1839, he pointed to the settlement and asked for the name of the place. A local person thought he pointed to a cat passing by, so he answered ‘Kucing’. Others say the city is named after the tree that was planted here. The fruit of this tree is called ‘Mata kuching’, which means ‘cat eye’, which is similar to lychee. The final hypothesis of the city’s unique name is that it was laid when people discovered the short-lived kite that lives along the Sarawak River that flows through the city.

Bảo tàng Mèo nằm ở phía bắc Tòa thị chính thành phố Kuching đã khắc họa lịch sử 5.000 năm của loài mèo. Ảnh: Esme Fox

The Cat Museum, located north of the Kuching City Hall, carved out 5,000 years of cat history.Photo: Esme Fox

Kuching is a multi-ethnic city inhabited by Malays, Chinese and Indians, as well as local tribes such as Iban, Bidayuh, Orang Ulu and Melanau. Cats carry important meanings to each group of people who live here. For example, for the Chinese, cats are a symbol of luck. Over hundreds of years, cats have also been worshiped by Muslims – the dominant form of religion in the native tribes of Borneo. The Prophet Muhammad had a cat named Muezza.

Residents on Borneo Island love cats because they help control insects. In the 1950s, the government used chemicals to kill mosquitoes and mice carrying malaria. After the chemicals were badly affected by the cat population in the area, the Royal Air Force carried out a “Operation Cat Drop” mission, dropping 14,000 cats into the countryside of Borneo, Malaysia.

Pictures of cats have been ingrained in the life of this city. The colorful giant cat family at the top of the fountain, mischievous cats cast in bronze along the river … are just what you see. There are also I-CATS – Sarawak International College of Technology – or Cats FM – Local Radio. The highest point of the city, on a high pillar is the image of justice balance and a gold cat, along with four white cats below.

Người Trung Quốc tại Kuching tin rằng mèo đem lại may mắn. Ảnh: Andrew Watson

The Chinese at Kuching believe that cats bring luck. Photo by Andrew Watson

And if you want to meet real cats, you can visit Meow Meow Cat Café, near the Sarawak River and more than 5 km south of the Cat Museum. Owner Janet and the founders thought to open a cat cafe for those who could not afford cats at home. “We are currently raising six cats of different cats,” she said. Here you will see guests playing with many different cats such as large kittens with white fur; Suria, a regal Bengali cat; Honey, Persian cat big eyes or a long gray cat named April …

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