The name of the city where we spent Christmas, Kuching, means “cat” in Malay. Celebrating this status of “The City of Cats” are numerous feline figures throughout town, often in the middle of roundabouts or intersections.

They range from cheesy to, well, a bit creepy.

The positioning of the cat with one paw extended is meant to invite good spirits or offer protection. It has hazy origins in Japanese legend, and indeed, we saw many paw-in-the-air cats in Japanese stores, beckoning to customers.