In a city inabithed by lot of cats, it takes an incredible “meow” to truly stand out. This is the story of Tombili, a chubby white-bellied tabby cat with a peculiar penchant for slouching against steps rather than sitting atop them. Her friendly personality made her a beloved resident of Istanbul’s Ziverbey neighborhood. She was, according to the locals, a fantastic cat.
Tombili’s fame spread after an image of her relaxing in her preferred pose went viral online and became also a meme. In the photo, she leans against a step, with one paw draped over her tubby white tummy while the other rests atop the concrete. She’s poised as if about to ask a question, perhaps she would ask you why you’ve been coming to her neighborhood, before tells you about her story.
If you love cats, and if you have access to the internet, it’s probably that you’ve already see the image. The “Chill Cat” meme puts Tombili in a countless of scenarios: settled on a lavish couch, beckoning someone to “paint her like one of their French girls”, dressed up like Julius Caesar, complete with a Roman toga, or lazed across her chosen dinner with a drink. The beloved cat died in August of 2016, and the district mayor commemorated her by installing a sculpture of Tombili in her iconic pose atop a step on World Animal Day. The sculpture was stolen a month after its installation, but after much public furore, the thieves returned it to its original spot. Still today people visit the sculpture to pay their respects to the internet star.