TURKEY – The sculpture of Tombili the cat, which gained fame with a funny photo that was widely used in cat meme sites, has been stolen from its place in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district.
Upon a petition on change.org signed by some 17,000 people demanding a sculpture to built for the famous cat, sculptor Seval Şahin went ahead and built the commemorative sculpture, which was erected back on Oct. 3 World Animal Day on a sidewalk in Ziverbey neighborhood where Tombili posed for its famous photo.
On Tuesday, locals in Ziverbey posted pictures of the now empty spot where the sculpture once was. İlyas Çetinkaya, who is the butcher who named the cat and used to feed it, explained that the sculpture went missing overnight.
“They broke it and took it away. We couldn’t figure out who these people are,” Çetinkaya stated.
Kadıköy Municipality also confirmed the unfortunate incident and stated a new sculpture will be erected.
The fuzzy cat became very popular after her photos, showing her sitting like a boss on a side walk, were circulated throughout social media channels. Often resembling Garfield’s hefty, lazy style, Tombili had fallen ill earlier this year and passed away a month later.
According to an article publshed in the Sabah daily, Tombili was born in the neighborhood of Ziverbey along with her sister, “Kezban,” who lost her life when back when she was very small.
Züleyla Sarıca and Bahtiyar Sarıca, who are the owners of the house where Tombili was born, stated, “When they were babies we made a small cottage in the garden. Everyone loved them and came to see them to take photos.”
The word “tombili” is frequently put on chubby pets in Turkish.
Residents in Ziverbey’s Güleç Çıkmazı Street announced her passing by hanging posters which stated: “You will live in our hearts” on the particular tree Tombili would lay beside.