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Otago Art Society president Doug Hart said the "Meow" exhibition at the Dunedin Railway Station on Saturday was certainly one out of the bag.
Volunteer organisation Cat Rescue Dunedin was trying to lure a wider audience to its display of New Zealand artworks, which focused on the cat family, he said.
So a couple of litters of kittens were brought in for people to pat while they perused the paintings and digital artworks.
There was also storytelling, mouse hunts and a colouring competition.
Not only did the exhibition bring in a much younger audience, it supported Cat Rescue Dunedin by collecting financial donations and cat products.
Discerning cool cats were also able to buy many of the artworks, he said.
Cat-themed events are planned for the remainder of the month, including an open poetry night at 7pm on Thursday at the Dunedin Railway Station, where public poets are invited to indulge in cat-themed words of wisdom.
The shows are part of the Dunedin Fringe Festival and will run until April 17.
"A huge amount of work has been put in to this exhibition so that members of our Dunedin community can enjoy this ‘fur real’ event," he said.