Lonely Planet Writer

Cats finally have their very own museum in North Carolina

Cat-lovers of the world can finally breathe a sigh of relief as a great injustice has finally been made right. At last, the not-so-humble house cat now has its very own museum in North Carolina.

happy ginger cat on a bed
This guy is delighted at the news of an American cat museum. Image by Chris Winsor

The American Museum of the House Cat explores the unique – and occasionally one-sided – relationship between humans and domesticated cats, covering their godlike status in Ancient Egypt to their godlike status on the modern internet.

Most of the artefacts are from the private collection of Dr Harold Sims, who has been collecting cat-related items for more than 30 years. There is a huge art collection dating back to the 1800s, ranging from advertising, fine art, glass creations and even toy cats.

There are also photographs of famous people with their own feline companions and one of the most astonishing exhibits is a perfectly preserved petrified cat that was rescued from a chimney in 16th century England. The museum is small at the moment but if successful, Dr Sims hopes it will become a major tourist attraction and has left room to expand on the site.

Colourful cats outside the house cat museum
It’s hard to miss the facade of the cat museum. Image by American Museum of the House Cat

The project also has a more serious side. The site is also home to a no-kill shelter for cats and any money raised outside the running costs of the museum – which is completely staffed by volunteers – will go to the shelter and their spay and neuter program.

The American Museum of the House Cat is open Tuesday to Sunday in Sylva, North Carolina. Admission fee is $5 for adults and $2 for children under the age of 12. Locals can also make an appointment to visit the shelter should they be inspired by history to adopt a cat of their very own.