Remember Tombili, the famous cat celebrity in Istanbul? This chubby, fluffy street cat rose to fame in 2016 when a photo of her leaning against a sidewalk step like a boss was posted on the internet. On the viral photo, the Turkish kitty can be seen effortlessly laid-back as she peacefully stares at a busy street. The cat’s human-like pose was so amusing that the photo quickly turned the kitty into an internet phenomenon. Not long after, the trending ‘chill cat’ became a worldwide meme and became the ideal epitome of being ‘cool’.
But before Tombili became a social media phenomenon, she has been very popular with the residents of Ziverbey neighborhood. Although the cat didn’t have a dedicated home, the neighborhood took good care of her as evidenced by her stout body and neat coat. The residents even gave her the name ‘Tombili’ which is a common Turkish nickname for a chubby pet. People often found her on her favorite spot leaning against a step while she calmly gazes around. Her fascinating pose really took every passerby’s attention. It’s as if she was encouraging people to take life easy and loosen up once in a while.
Tombili, the famous Turkish cat, had a bronze statue recreating her popular pose
Sadly, Tombili fell ill right after she became so famous. And on the 1st of August 2016, the adorable cat passed away. The Ziverbey neighborhood and all her fans from around the globe were saddened by the news of her sudden death. Residents and visitors alike flocked into her favorite spot to offer candles and flowers. Many people even posted paper notes next to the spot to express their deep sorrow. This note, in particular, was translated:
“You will live in our hearts. Mascot of our street, beloved Tombili lost his struggle for life after a month and closed his eyes to life on first of August.”
To keep her memory alive, her fans started a petition urging the local government of Kadikoy, Istanbul to build a commemorative statue of Tombili. The petition acquired more than 17,000 signatures. And that eventually convinced the mayor of Kadikoy to erect a bronze statue of the popular cat right on her favorite spot. A local sculptor made the sculpture recreating the cat’s famous pose. After its inauguration on October 4, 2016, hundreds of people visited the memorial sculpture to pay their respects. Even street cats would stop by the statue and pay their respects as well.
The making of the bronze statue
Even other street cats are paying their respects as well
Tombili is often compared to Hachiko, the legendary Japanese Akita dog that also got its own statue erected on the same spot where he usually sat and waited for his owner to return. With just a simple gesture or pose, animals can have an uplifting influence in the hearts of people.