An art museum in Japan has become famous online thanks to two extremely determined cats – who have been attempting to get inside for two years.

The Onomichi Museum in Hiroshima first encountered a black cat called Ken-chan back in 2016, when the gallery hosted an exhibition of cat photographs that piqued his interest.

"I'm guessing that Ken-chan spotted some of the exhibits through the glass, and since the photos included those of black cats, he must have thought he had found a new friend," the museum's curator, Shinji Umebayashi, told the Guardian. "And then he just kept coming back."

His stand-off with a white-gloved security guard was caught on camera and posted online.

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Despite being gently turned away by the guard, Ken-chan made it his mission to enter and tried time and time again.

Go-chan stands rejected after being turned away from the museum yet again. Photo / Twitter, @bijutsu1
Go-chan stands rejected after being turned away from the museum yet again. Photo / Twitter, @bijutsu1

And after a while, he started bringing a friend along – a ginger cat that museum staff named Go-chan.

"I'd seen him around so we think he must live locally, but we're not sure where, exactly," Umebayashi said.

The two friends plan their next move from outside the museum. Photo / Twitter, @bijutsu1
The two friends plan their next move from outside the museum. Photo / Twitter, @bijutsu1

Videos posted on the museum's Twitter account show the playful relationship between the cats and the guard and have been viewed millions of times in recent weeks.

It seems that most of the guard's day is spent trying to block the cats from entering. Sometimes he is forced to pick them up and physically move them away - but they always receive a nice pat on the head in the process.

In response to their popularity online, the museum launched a range of merchandise featuring the cats – but the Guardian reports they are struggling to keep up with demand as visitors and orders rise.