The charismatic statue of a smiling cat in Quang Trị attracts admirers from all over Vietnam

QUANG TRỊ (Vietnam News/Asia News Network): A giant cat statue erected by authorities in the central province of Quang Trị to mark the lunar year of the cat has exploded in popularity on social media due to its captivating appearance and attracts huge crowds from all over the country.

The 3.1m icon in the public square of Ai Tu town is a depiction of a breed of domestic cat and has apparently captured the imagination of the public for its smile, large round eyes, generally charming and her hairy coat.

Made from polystyrene and plaster and costing around VNĐ31 million (US$1,320), it was installed on January 15 and quickly began garnering positive word of mouth.

According to locals, visitors first started coming from Dong Ha city of the province and neighboring districts to see the statue, followed by residents of Huế city, Quảng Bình province. and then even HCM City, Bình Dương, Đồng Nai and places all over Việt Nam.

Some have affectionately dubbed the statue “Miss Cat”, a reference to beauty pageants.

​Nguyễn Hoàng Duy Âu of HCM City was quoted by Tuổi Trẻ newspaper as saying that his group of 20 friends had carefully planned their trip through several provinces, but decided to make an impromptu stop in Quảng Trị to see the statue.

“It is definitely worth it. The statue is even cuter [than on a screen].”

Many other travelers have done the same, adding a visit to the province.

The owner of a drinks stand near the square said the place had never seen such crowds, which number in the thousands every day.