Sunday, October 21, 2012

Kuching's Cat Museum - one of the Most Bizarre Museums in the World

The City of Kuching in Sarawak, East Malaysia, (on the island of Borneo), translates to City of Cats or Cat City, in English. Many would think that it's because of the cats in the city that it is named after. Not in this case, however, though there is a Cat Museum that surprisingly makes it to Tripadvisor's list of the most bizzare museums in the world.

Before we get to that list of world's most bizarre museums, let's take a moment to find out how Kuching got her name, and we turn to Wikipedia:

Kuching was named after a tidal stream called Kuching River (Sungai Kuching) that ran between the present-day Tua Pek Kong Temple, and Chinese History Museum. The stream originated from Cat's Eye Hill (Bukit Mata Kuching) where there was an abundance of a local fruit called Green Longan (Isau, Dimocarpus longan ssp malesianus), vernacularly known as Cat's Eye (Mata Kuching). In 1928, the stream was filled up to make way for the construction of Temple Street (Lebuh Temple), and thus the city's expansion eastwards.

Here it is, the list of Most Bizarre Museums in the World. The list is based on feedback from TripAdvisor travellers and as chosen by TripAdvisor editors.

1 Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto, Canada − The Bata Shoe Museum houses a collection of more than 10,000 items of footwear with over 4,500 years of history - from 15th century Peruvian ceremonial aladeros and 19th century French chestnut-crushing clogs and ancient Egyptian sandals to 20th-century celebrity shoes.

2 Paris Sewer Museum, Paris, France − First opened to the public in 1867, the sewer tunnels running underneath Paris are where visitors can gain first-hand knowledge of the history and inner workings of the city’s sewer system.

3 Museum of Witchcraft, Cornwall, England − Opened in 1951 by Cecil Williamson, the museum exhibits the largest witchcraft collection in the world. Artifacts include a witch’s altar and a magician’s sword. The museum also houses a library of more than 3,000 books.

4 British Lawnmower Museum, Merseyside, England − The fastest lawnmowers, lawnmowers of the rich and famous, and some of the most expensive lawnmowers in the world. This museum is a tribute to the garden machine invented by Edwin Beard Budding in 1830.

5 Toilet Seat Museum, Alamo Heights, Texas, the United States − Barney Smith, a retired plumber, has been creating toilet seat art for over 30 years. More than 1,000 of his decorated commode covers are on display in the Toilet Seat Museum (Barney’s garage) in Alamo Heights, Texas. Since Barney is the only person who operates the museum, travellers should call first, so he knows to open his doors.

6 Instant Ramen Museum, Osaka, Japan − Dedicated to ramen noodle cups and creator Momofuko Ando, the museum showcases the many ramen flavours made through the years. The museum also has a reproduction of the hut where the first noodles were first produced. It also has a kitchen facility where visitors can make fresh noodles, as well as a factory where visitors can assemble their own cup noodles.

7 Salt & Pepper Shakers Museum, Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the United States − Here you will find a collection of over 20,000 sets of salt and pepper shakers from around the world, some dating back to the 1500s. The museum also displays the largest collection of pepper mills in the world!

8 Spam Museum, Austin, Minnesota, the United States − A museum dedicated to Spam, the mystery meat, it features a wall of Spam, interactive displays, a video, and historical exhibits of the Spam brand and Hormel Foods Company.

Visitors can learn how the “mystery meat” is produced. After touring the museum, you can browse Spam novelties in the gift shop and snack on Spam cuisine in the dining area.

9 Cumberland Pencil Museum
, Keswick, England − According to legend, a huge storm in the 1500s uprooted trees in Cumberland, and graphite was discovered. Shepherds used the graphite to mark their sheep, and thus began the area’s pencil industry.

The Cumberland Pencil Museum takes visitors through the history of the pencil and pencil-making. The museum also houses the biggest pencil in the world measuring 26 feet and weighing 446kg (984 pounds)!

10 Cat Museum, Kuching, Malaysia − Cat lovers can enjoy 2,000 exhibits, artifacts, and statues from around the world, from an Egyptian mummified cat to Hello Kitty items. The museum is also a research and information centre that concentrates on the history and cultural beliefs surrounding cats.

On my visit to Kuching a couple of years ago, the entourage decided to skip the Cat Museum as some of us were not too keen about cats. Besides, the rain did not help. Also, the bus didn't get close enough, so the building or facade didn't look compelling enough to warrant a visit from where we were in the bus. After reading this article, Most bizzare Cat Museum, which is the source of this post, I think I would make it a point to visit this tourist attraction on my next visit to Kuching.

Kuchingites, would you give this Cat Museum a thumbs-up?


  1. This was an interesting post! :) I wish I could visit that cat museum. I love cats!

    I'm surprised that they chose the ramen museum in Osaka and not the wonderful world of worms in Tokyo! ;P Yes, we have a parasite museum. No, I've never been there! Yuck! (>_<)

  2. Anonymous5:44 PM

    I wonder in what way it is bizarre?

  3. Chinese say got eyes dunno Tarzan, got such a famous museum in our very own Cat City.

  4. i would love to see it too. Havent been to that city

  5. Rurousha, Yuck! is the word for such a museum. Anything creepy-crawly is out of my interest level. I remember I skipped the Snake Temple in Penang and waited outside for the rest.

  6. STP, the Tripadvisor members have spoken. Hey, at least they have put Kuching on the tourism map on most bizarre museums in the world! How cool is that!

  7. Bananaz, so true. Btw, did you know there's another attraction in East Malaysia in Sabah? This one is an upside down house. Even the furniture is upside down.

  8. Small Kucing, Kuching is worth a visit. So is Sibu.