The small sculpture erected in memory of Istanbul’s iconic cat “Tombili,” which was stolen on Tuesday, has been returned to its original spot after a social media outcry.
Tombili became a social media phenomenon after being photographed posing on a sidewalk in the Ziverbey neighborhood of Istanbul’s Kadıköy district. After he passed away earlier this year, sculptor Seval Şahin voluntarily created the sculpture, which reflected Tombili’s iconic pose on the sidewalk.
The bronze sculpture was inaugurated on Oct. 4, World Animal Day, following a Change.org campaign demanding that the Kadıköy Municipality erect a commemorative sculpture of Tombili, who passed away in August after a month-long illness.
One month after it was opened to the public, the sculpture was reported stolen from its place. However, on Nov. 10 its creator Şahin shared a photo of herself with the returned sculpture, thanking coverage on social media, in the press and on TV, which she says helped bring about the happy ending.
Tombili’s fame spread worldwide after his iconic picture appeared on the viral site 9GAG. It was later adapted by various internet users to create memes, such as photo shopping him cradling a glass of tea or the alcoholic drink rakı.