Calling the Cat Museum a museum will be a gross misnomer, because a museum it is definitely not. For starters, do not expect it to be anything like the ArtScience or National Museums, with huge fanciful spaces that visitors look at valuable items stored in glass enclosures.
Instead, Lion City Kitty - The CAT MUSEUM, MUSES & MANSION is more than that, being a social enterprise and having REAL CATS on its premises! Yes, real furry cats... and no, it is unlike your usual cat cafe simply because there are no food and drinks served, and visitors can even choose to adopt the cats too!
Nestled along Purvis Street - a few doors away from the wildly popular French restuarant, Saveur - lies a flight of stairs leading to the Cat Museum, which we totally missed and walked past it the first time round.
After climbing up the flight of stairs, we were required to remove our shoes and place them in the lockers provided. Do have a new $1 or old 50-cent coin handy for the lockers, which will be refunded when you collect your shoes. We then made our way along a tiny corridor which led to the entrance of the museum proper.
Pay your entrance fee of $9 (free for kids below 6 years old) at the counter and the feline experience begins right away!
Consisting of three floors, the museum is decked out with cat paraphernalia and nuggets of information about the history of cats from around the world along with curated cat-related visual artwork and photographs.
Level 2: Museum
On this level, stories about cats and their humans, as well as the important roles cats play in each community are featured.
The monkies love animals but as they found out, cats are entirely a different proposition compared to dogs in terms of temperament and playability. And kids being kids, they were naturally excited and eager to stroke and play with the cats instantly so it was a good thing that volunteers from the Cat Welfare Society are present at all levels to educate and supervise all interactions with the cats.
The monkies were taught the proper way to approach a cat without startling it:
1. Approach it slowly and lower down your body so you appear smaller.
2. Talk to it softly - the ever-popular "here, kitty kitty" works - while reaching out your hand to let the cat sniff.
3. Move your hand gently towards the cat's chin and wait a moment to see if it is ready for you. If it is, stroke its head gently.
Predictably, some of the cats were rather aloof and preferred to be alone while others were truly playful. Like this cutie who kept pawing away at my camera strap!
There are lifts that bring visitors to the upper levels but my recommendation is to take the stairs instead as there are plenty of posters lining the walls which offer interesting and often comical information about cats.
Level 3: Muses
This level is dedicated solely for rescued or abandoned cats. These cats can be adopted by the public, making this cat museum the first in the world that has real cats for adoption.
The volunteers gave us a brief background on some of this level's residents, particularly this kitty which has a heart-wrenching history. It was rescued from a construction site after being physically abused so it was understandably wary of humans when we first approached it.
The main highlight of the level, however, is definitely the Kitten Kindergarten, set up in collaboration with the people at Cat Welfare Society, and houses tiny kittens!
Visitors to the Cat Museum are prohibited from carrying adult cats but are able to so for kittens - but only when sitting down. So needless to say, the monkies totally loved this area to bits.
Well, it certainly helped that the kittens are really playful too!
Level 4: Mansion
This level is where the Hollywood superstars live! Well, cats named after Hollywood superstars. Home to the museum’s nine resident cats who have been given rather famous names - Brad, Jen Jen, Angie, Usher, Shakira - after their Hollywood counterparts, this feline playground has many exciting features to keep cats (and humans) entertained.
These 9 cats belong to the founder and are accustomed to interaction with humans so complete with toys, scratching posts and cat nips littered around the floor, the monkies pretty much enjoyed playing with the cats on this level.
Unless of course, some were just nonchalant about the attention. Lol.
And just in case you are wondering...
Overall, we loved our experience at the Cat Museum and the monkies thoroughly enjoyed their time with the cats. But more than just playing, they picked up useful knowledge on how to approach and the proper ways to interact with them.
Here a few things to note if you are intending to head down:
- Visitors are not charged an hourly rate (unlike cat cafes) and can stay as long as they want within the operating hours.
- The museum is only open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays so as not to over-stress the cats. Also, it is closed between 3.30pm and 4.30pm for Kitty Kat Nap.
- The floor areas are pretty small so it will get a tad overcrowded if there are too many people. So prepare to head up to the topmost Mansions level first if the lower floors are too crowded.
- To avoid the crowds, try visiting when it opens at 12pm on weekends or after 6pm.
- The Cat Museum is a social enterprise and is not for profit so the ticket fees and cat merchandise go into the maintenance of the cats. Additional donations are always welcome and can be dropped into the available boxes, which will benefit the Cat Welfare Society directly.
The Cat Musem is purr-fect for not only cat lovers, but also for families with young children to learn more about cats and their history - and all for a good cause too!
Lion City Kitty - The CAT MUSEUM, MUSES & MANSION
8 Purvis Street, #02-02 Singapore 188587
Tel: 6336 2133
Opening Hours: Fridays: 4.30pm – 7.30pm | Saturdays/Sundays: 12noon – 7.30pm
(CLOSED from 3.30pm – 4.30pm for Kitty Kat Nap)
Admission: $9 per person, FREE for children below 6 years old