The History of Tombili the Cat

tombili the cat

The History of Tombili the Cat

Tombili, a beloved street cat from Istanbul, Turkey, became an international sensation thanks to his iconic and laid-back demeanor. The name “Tombili,” a Turkish term of endearment often used for chubby pets, perfectly suited this rotund and relaxed feline.

tombili cat

Early Life and Rise to Fame

Tombili cat lived in the Ziverbey neighborhood of Kadıköy, a district on the Asian side of Istanbul. He was a typical street cat, well-known and well-loved by the local residents. Tombili’s life changed when a photograph of him lounging in a distinctly human-like pose was taken and shared on social media. In the picture, Tombili appeared to be sitting on the edge of a sidewalk, leaning back against a step, with one paw resting on his belly and the other dangling over the edge. This nonchalant pose resonated with many people, and the image quickly went viral, capturing hearts around the world. There are lots of cafes in Kadiköy.

Tombili’s Impact and Memorial

The photograph of Tombili lounging in his iconic pose became a symbol of the carefree, resilient spirit of Istanbul’s street cats. He became a local celebrity, known for his relaxed attitude and unique character. His fame spread beyond Istanbul, making him a beloved figure internationally.

In August 2016, Tombili passed away, and the news of his death led to an outpouring of grief from both the local community and his global fans. To honor his memory and the joy he brought to so many, local residents launched a campaign to create a permanent memorial for Tombili.

The Statue of Tombili Cat

In October 2016, the Kadıköy Municipality unveiled a bronze statue of Tombili in his famous lounging pose, located on the very spot where the original photograph was taken. The statue, created by sculptor Seval Şahin, perfectly captures Tombili’s relaxed demeanor and serves as a lasting tribute to the beloved cat. The inscription on the statue reads, “You will live in our hearts, mascot of our street.”

The statue quickly became a popular attraction, drawing visitors from around the world who came to pay their respects and take photos with the famous feline. It symbolizes the affection and respect the people of Istanbul have for their street animals, highlighting the unique bond between the city’s residents and its stray cats.


Tombili’s legacy extends beyond his life as a street cat. He represents the spirit of Istanbul, a city known for its harmonious coexistence between humans and animals. The story of Tombili is a testament to the power of a single image to capture the imagination and hearts of people globally, turning a local street cat into a symbol of relaxation, resilience, and community.

Today, the statue of Tombili remains a beloved landmark in Kadıköy, a reminder of the joy and comfort that animals can bring into our lives and the importance of cherishing and caring for them.

Where is the Statue of Tombili Cat?

Here is the google maps link of Tombili Cat Statue 🙂

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