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    Cats from Onomichi City Museum of Art

    Russian Town Welcomes Famous Japanese Cats Barred Entry to Onomichi Museum

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    Ken-chan and Go-chan, two cats from Onomichi, Japan, became overnight internet celebrities after it was discovered that the felines have been trying to enter the local Museum of Art for over two years now without any success.

    Officials in Zelenogradsk, a resort town in the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad often referred by locals as the 'city of cats', has given the two famous felines from the Japanese city Onomichi an invitation to come for a visit.

    Ken-Chen first appeared at the Onomichi museum's door in 2016. Rumor has it that the black feline was politely refused entry by the museum guard while trying to take in an exhibit on cat photography. His friend Go-chan, a ginger cat, soon joined Ken-chan on his escapade. Since then, the cats have become so popular that the art museum literally has souvenirs dedicated to their failed attempts to come in and look at some art.

    Learning about the cats' predicament, authorities in the Russian Baltic Sea resort town of Zelenogradsk invited the famous felines to come and visit, saying they would be free to enjoy all of the area's museums to their hearts' content.

    "When we heard about this story, we immediately sent a letter to the Onomichi Museum of Art with an invitation to come and visit us on our traditional holiday – the birthday of the Zelenogradsk Cat, which we mark annually in March," the city administration said. Offering the Japanese felines a lifetime pass to the city's Murrarium Art Museum of Cats, city officials said they hoped the cats could make it to the next Zelenogradsk Cat day festivities, and added that they would be free to roam about the town's other museums.

    The Onomichi art museum's official twitter account offered a polite response, saying the felines would not be able to make it to the city, but offering their "best regards to cats and people living in Zelenogradsk."

    Zelenogradsk authorities pay great care in preserving their status as a city of cats. In 2017, the city installed a sculpture composition depicting stray cats eating fish from a plate in a public garden.

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