WEIRD NEWS
04/10/2016 17:40 BST | Updated 04/10/2016 18:12 BST

Famously Chill Cat Memorialized With Her Own Statue

The world fell in love with Tombili, and now they'll never forget her.

Tombili, the pudgy cat whose relaxing demeanor captured the hearts of fans worldwide, has been honored with a bronze statue in her home city of Istanbul, Turkey.

The cuddly feline — whose name is a Turkish word often used for chubby pets — was a beloved figure in the neighborhood of Ziverbey, the Daily Sabah reports.

“Tombili was a freely living cat, like most cats in Turkey,” Batu Aksoy, one of the founders of the Anatolian Cat Project, told The Huffington Post in a Facebook message. “The community took care of her.” While some media reports refer to Tombili as a “he,” Aksoy said she was a female.

Anatolian Cat Project
Local people used to feed Tombili a lot because they loved her so much.

Tombili shot to online fame after someone snapped a photo of her reclining outside. It’s unclear when she became known outside of her local neighborhood, but the photo appears at the top of a 9Gag post from February 2015.

When she died in August after an illness, someone put up a poster in the neighborhood as a tribute. But a cat as awesome as Tombili deserved more than just a poster.

The Anatolian Cat Project — an educational community for cat lovers — launched a petition asking that the neighborhood have a statue erected to commemorate the popular feline. Artist Seval Şahin stepped up to the challenge, and the bronze sculpture was unveiled on Tuesday — World Animal Day.

Anatolian Cat Project

Tombili was a “very friendly cat,” Aksoy said, which unfortunately may have led to some of her health problems.

“[The] neighborhood loved her so much and used to feed her a lot,” he added.

And she seems to have gotten along better with humans than with other lines.

“Tombili was [a] very proud cat and did not like [to] spend her time with other cats,” Aksoy said. “Because of obesity, she could not move much, so preferred calmly to lie on [the] sidewalk.”

Free-roaming cats like Tombili are a common sight in Istanbul, where the city’s residents offer food, shelter and care to the resident rodent-killers. The region’s love for cats has roots in Islam — the Prophet Mohammad is said to have adored cats, legendarily opting to cut a sleeve off of his robe, rather than disturb his feline companion sleeping on top of it.

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