After 17,000 people demanded a statue in memory of the famous cat. Tombili, the Istanbul cat was honoured with his very own memorial after his death.
Tombili, which is the Turkish word, often used to describe chubbier pets, was an adored cat in Istanbul’s Ziverybey neighbourhood, the demand for a tribute to him came after the adorable cat died.
Tombili became famous earlier this year after a photo of him in his common ‘chilled out’ position went viral on the internet, with many turning the cat into a meme. He was always popular in his neighbourhood for his chilled out attitude towards people too.
Many people photoshopped the original image of Tombili in his reclined pose, to make him appear to be wearing sunglasses, or holding a cup of alcohol in his hand to emulate people who are chilled out.
Unfortunately, Tomboli became ill after a month-long illness, that is still a mystery. He was so heavily loved around his neighbourhood that flyers were passed around which read, “you will love on in our hearts, mascot of our street”, the mourning soon led into a more imaginative and slightly crazy idea.
The fact that the cat had reached fame, and was considered the mascot of the street meant that a change.org petition was created which stated that (if they got enough signatures) Kadıköy Municipalit, the mayor of Ziverbey, would officially commemorate Tombili with a sculpture, that would remind everybody of the happiness he brought and the contribution he made to public life.
The petition managed to gather an impressive 17,000 signatures, which would have been impossible for the mayor to ignore. A local sculptor named Seval Şahin agreed to make the bronze statue which recreated the cat’s famous pose.
The statue was placed in Tombili’s favourite spot and recreated his favourite position. He was known for being slightly chubby, lounging around on the pavement and not having a care in the world. You will be glad to know that Tombili did not let the fame get to his head either, he stayed grounded and, of course, super chill throughout it all.
The statue was presented to the world on October 4th – chosen because it is World Animal Day. Hundreds of people came to the opening of the statue and some even left candles and flowers to show their respect for the famous feline. The uncovering was covered by Turkish TV
Istanbul has a very strong love for cats, there are thousands of stray cats wandering the streets that are extremely well looked after and loved by the locals, Tombili’s memorial seems to emulate the Turkish people’s love for cats and how they have managed to find a beautiful way to commemorate such a tragic loss.
The statue hopes to be an inspiration to those who rush around, who might see the statue and decide to take just a few moments to take in the world around them and just relax a little.