Lonely Planet Writer

See beautiful photographs of cats that call the shops of Hong Kong home

From mouse-hunting staffers to lazy companions, the cats that call Hong Kong shops their home have been immortalised in a beautiful series of photographs that capture their daily existence.

A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong.
A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong. Image by © Marcel Heijnen, ‘Hong Kong Shop Cats’ #17, Hong Kong 2016 Courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery, Hong Kong

“Hong Kong Shop Cats”, a pop-up exhibition and book by Marcel Heijnen will be on display from 9 to 11 December at the ZZHK Gallery in Hong Kong.

A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong.
A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong. Image by © Marcel Heijnen, ‘Hong Kong Shop Cats’ #46, Hong Kong 2016 Courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery, Hong Kong
A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong.
A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong. Image by © Marcel Heijnen, ‘Hong Kong Shop Cats’ #22, Hong Kong 2016 Courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery, Hong Kong

Heinjen is a photographer, designer and musician from the Netherlands, but has lived in Asia since 1992. He was drawn to the mouse-hunting store-dwellers as soon as he moved to the city.

A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong.
A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong. Image by © Marcel Heijnen, ‘Hong Kong Shop Cats’ #32, Hong Kong 2016 Courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery, Hong Kong
A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong.
A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong. Image by © Marcel Heijnen, ‘Hong Kong Shop Cats’ #59, Hong Kong 2016 Courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery, Hong Kong

“In most modern cities there will be all kinds of rules and regulations against cats in shops. Not in Hong Kong, and I’m grateful for that. Here we can still witness this wonderful symbiotic relationship between human and feline, and the very reason for it harks back to why we domesticated cats in the first place, centuries ago: mice-catching and companionship”, said Heijnen in a statement.

A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong.
A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong. Image by © Marcel Heijnen, ‘Hong Kong Shop Cats’ #30, Hong Kong 2016 Courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery, Hong Kong
A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong.
A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong. Image by © Marcel Heijnen, ‘Hong Kong Shop Cats’ #35, Hong Kong 2016 Courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery, Hong Kong

Some of the cats are brought in by owners to hunt in the shops, while other cats adopt a shop for themselves. Either way, the felines provide the added bonus of welcoming guests.

A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong.
A series of photos features cats in shops in Hong Kong. Image by © Marcel Heijnen, ‘Hong Kong Shop Cats’ #34, Hong Kong 2016 Courtesy of Blue Lotus Gallery, Hong Kong

According to the gallery: “While the cats are undoubtedly the furry celebrities of his photographs, each shot delivers an insightful context of Hong Kong’s traditional trades. From dried fish and rice to paper offerings, the backdrop of each shot presents a portrait of Hong Kong’s local culture”. After the pop-up exhibition, there will be prints and books available at the Blue Lotus Gallery in Hong Kong.