Even though up until quite recently I was a cat owner for 13 years, I can’t say I’m the epitome of a cat person. It took a long time for me to agree to get a cat for my son Jake when he was four. But it all worked out well and I was with our cat until the very end.
It’s not because I’m a cat person that I was drawn to Hong Kong Shop Cats, but because 1) it’s Hong Kong and 2) I’ve marveled at the prevalence of cats in mom and pop stores around the territory. These stores are dying by the dozens as rents become way too expensive for indie owners to maintain. So I found this book valuable in that it preserves the Hong Kong I knew and still love, if mainly in memory.
The book is fun for a number of reasons. The photos are stunning and each one shows a local shop with a cat somewhere in the scene, but not always very apparent. And each photo is accompanied by a haiku. Some shops sell traditional Chinese herbal medicine, while others sell toilets, and others junk.
When I lived in Hong Kong, I noticed stray-ish cats loitering around the cafeterias on campus. And on recent trips, I’ve noticed them in stores.
My kids have enjoyed this book almost as much as I do, and they’re the ones begging for a new cat.