Even though they don’t belong to us, cats may become a significant part of our life. Many localities are overrun with stray cats who have no owners but manage to survive owing to the goodwill of strangers who make it a habit of feeding and sheltering them. Istanbul is noteworthy not only for the sheer quantity of stray cats, but also for how deeply embedded they are in daily life—to the point where they have their own documentary film, Kedi.
One stray cat in particular stood out among the thousands of stray animals roaming the Turkish city… and the city made sure she’d be remembered for a long time.
When photographs of her famed stance went viral, she became even more famous. There’s simply something about this animal that makes it so sympathetic. People would regularly pay Tombili a visit at her customary position on the pavement in the Kadköy area, where she would be lazing around without a care in the world. Tombili had a lovely life… unfortunately she passed away on August 1, 2016. Most stray cats would be forgotten, but because Tombili was such a beloved member of the society, Istanbul residents chose to pay tribute to her legacy as a symbol of the Turkish stray cat community in a major way:
Locals were heartbroken and started a Change.org petition to have a statue erected in honor of the world-famous stray. “We hope that Tombili, the neighborhood mascot for 11 years and whose fame has gone beyond Kadköy, be remembered and not forgotten in the same way,” the petition says. The campaign was a success, and an artist named Seval ahin offered to make the monument. It was placed in Tombili’s customary position and portrays her in her iconic stance.
On October 4, World Animal Protection Day, the statue was unveiled. It’s a place where people may gather to remember their former friends, both humans and animals. A cat appears in one shot to pay tribute to the late icon: