Turkish Officials Erect Statue Honoring Beloved Street Cat

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City authorities in Istanbul, Turkey have immortalized a beloved neighborhood street cat by installing a bronze statue in his honor, The Independent reports.

Tombili (roughly translated as "chubby" in Turkish) was a tubby grey-and-white tabby known locally for his relaxed attitude, and worldwide for lounging on a set of sidewalk steps in the city’s Ziverbey section. The cat became famous online after a picture of him in repose circulated on social media. The much-adored feline died on August 1, 2016, following a mysterious month-long illness.

Locals mourned Tombili, and posted street flyers that read, “You will live on in our hearts, mascot of our street,” the Hurriyet Daily News reports. But some people wanted to erect a more permanent homage to the feline, and they launched a Change.org petition asking local officials to make it happen.

The petition garnered 17,000 signatures, and the Kadıköy Municipality gave Turkish artist Seval Şahin the green light to sculpt Tombili in his favorite position: sprawled on the pavement with one arm propping up his pudgy torso.

The statue was unveiled on October 4—World Animal Day—and visitors left food, flowers, and candles to pay tribute to the mellow kitty. Check out a few pictures of the sculpture below.

[h/t The Independent]

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