A Cat Museum Worth Meowing About

By Julia Williams

Last summer on this blog, I wrote about Fun Places for Cat Lovers to visit. One of those was the Kuching Cat Museum in Malaysia, a one-of-a-kind place featuring just about everything cat related you could imagine. As a cat lover, this amazing museum is definitely high on my bucket list. It’s so far away from where I currently live that I doubt I’ll ever get there, but you never know.

Recently I was excited to learn that this museum is not the only one dedicated to the divine feline. Yippee! There are other cat museums! My bucket list was about to get a lot longer. Maybe I could even take a little cat-themed summer vacation.

Unfortunately, my excitement was short lived. Further investigation revealed that only one cat museum was in the United States. Rats. Unless my travel budget grew exponentially, I would not be visiting the aptly-named Cat Museum in Lithuania, nor the Kattenkabinet in Amsterdam.

There was, however, still that one U.S. cat museum I mentioned. It merited a closer look, so naturally I clicked over to their website to check it out. As cat museums go, it actually looks like a pretty cool place for a cat lover (me!) to visit.

To sweeten the deal, the Feline Historical Museum even offers FREE admission. Ok, so now I just have to figure out how to get from Montana to Ohio. Who’s up for a road trip?

The CFA Foundation’s Feline Historical Museum

The nonprofit Cat Fanciers’ Association Foundation, Inc. (CFA Foundation) was founded in 1990 to collect and record the history of the cat. Today, their mission is to preserve the history of cats through the acquisition of fine art, artifacts and literature.

Their Feline Historical Museum opened in 2010. It features an extensive library of cat books, along with cat figurines, artwork, advertising and more. The museum is home to some meow-worthy permanent exhibits, including a collection of approximately 165 Maneki Neko cats of all kinds, donated by Donald Hargrove of Memphis.

Other exhibits include a cat doll collection and Siamese cat figurine collection. The museum also features special rotating exhibits to keep cat lovers coming back for more. This summer, one such rotating exhibit is a Persian Breed Display called “The Persian … in all its glory.”

Cat show memorabilia is an important part of the museum’s offerings. This includes:  trophies, medallions, awards and rosettes from the early cat fancy in the United States and England; the silver collar awarded to Cosey, the winner of the first Madison Square Garden cat show in 1895; the third prize rosette awarded to Daisy, a 3-color Manx, at the first cat show in Northampton, England in 1896; a 1904 sterling silver chalice from the Sheffield Cat Show in England.

Occasionally, real live cats and kittens (squee!) are brought in to delight visitors. Past cat breeds that have been given the run of the museum include Maine Coons and Ragdolls. Egyptian Mau and Japanese Bobtail cats have been on hand (um…on paw?) to demonstrate their feline agility skills.

The museum also has a tech-savvy feature that I had never heard of before, but then again I’m not surprised since I may be the only person in the world who doesn’t have a smart phone. Anyhoo. As visitors wander through the museum, they will encounter something called Quick Recognition Codes. Scanning these QR codes with your smart phone will either connect you to the museum’s web page for details about a particular item, or bring up text with additional information.

Doesn’t the Feline Historical Museum sound like the cat’s meow? Who wants to meet me there this summer?

Photos courtesy of the CFA Foundation’s Feline Historical Museum

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