Shop Cats: Photographer captures charming felines living in Hong Kong's shops

When Dutch visual artist and photographer Marcel Heijnen moved to Hong Kong, he was immediately drawn to the fascinating culture of shop cats, and decided to capture the little feline emperors amongst their retail kingdoms.

All images courtesy of the artist and the Blue Lotus Gallery

All images courtesy of the artist and the Blue Lotus Gallery

Sharing his shots of the loveable moggies on Instagram under the handle @ChineseWhiskers, the charming series soon grabbed the attention of the world – so much so it's now available in a book and pop-up exhibition at the Blue Lotus gallery, offering a fascinating insight into Hong Kong's traditional trades.

Marcel said: "“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.

"And yes, it’s about the cats. But it kind of isn’t at the same time. It’s just as much about the context; these chaotic-yet-organically-organised traditional Chinese shops that form beautiful photogenic subjects in their own right. Places in which time seems to have stood still, devoid of branding and all the other modern-day retail trickery we’ve grown accustomed to."

From dried fish and rice to paper offerings, the backdrop of each shot presents a portrait of Hong Kong's local culture. To discover more, visit

Via Creative Boom submission | All images courtesy of Marcel Heijnen


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