Strange Planet: Macau’s Cat Fancy

Lawrence Ferber uncovered a confluence of kitty kitsch and a caring cause in Macau.

 

Is Asia the cat’s meow? Pardon the pun, or don’t, but Asia is home to a few unique, even peculiar, cat-themed attractions. Tokyo and Taipei’s “cat cafes,” where one can mingle with a bevy of kitties while sipping a cuppa (and pay hourly for the honor), have received a fair amount of online ink, and the Kuching Cat Museum in Sarawak, Malaysia, which is dedicated to all things feline (from ancient Chinese representations to a poster for Broadway’s CATS) and more than borders on kitsch, is a must-see. But look to Macau–aka the Las Vegas of the East–and you have a different sort of jackpot.

Meow Space is where stray cats, art, and retail therapy come together. Hong Kong’s Almond Chan, who worked in print media as a writer and editor, teamed up with Macau designer Cora Si and opened their storefront in 2007. An independently funded shelter and adoption center for abandoned or homeless felines–approximately 700 have been rescued and placed so far–Meow Space also serves as a cat-centric art gallery and shop stocking locally crafted fashion and home goods that range from the quirky to chic. Wallets, purses, and tote bags bearing photos of previous Meow Space cats, T-shirts riffing on both feline and Chinese iconography, and gorgeous hand-printed stationery and wall hangings are among the offerings. Yes, they make purrrfect, one-of-a-kind souvenirs and gifts.

            

Located just across the street from a school, at recess time many students come by for a dose of feline affection, and with approximately 20 cats in the space at one time (in cages, beds, and walking or lazing about around freely) you’re likely to get some yourself: one handsome, striped cat was even sitting on Meow Space’s donation box–making a personal call for contribution to their cause. Speaking of, Chan (who presently contributes a column to a Hong Kong Buddhism magazine) has expansion plans should business pick up, which it might since Meow Space has received more media exposure lately, including mention in a promotional film screened at the Shanghai World Expo.

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“If we can make more money from our business, we hope we can help dogs also,” Chan adds. Bow-wow Space, anyone?

Photo: Lawrence Ferber

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