The sculpture of Tombili the cat, which gained fame with a funny photo that was widely used in meme sites, was stolen from its place in Istanbul's Kadıköy district.
Upon a petition on change.org signed by some 17,000 people demanding a sculpture to built for the famous cat, sculptor Seval Şahin built the commemorative sculpture, which was erected on Oct. 3 World Animal Day on a sidewalk in Ziverbey neighborhood where Tombili posed for its famous photo.
On Tuesday, locals in Ziverbey posted pictures of the sculpture missing from its site. İlyas Çetinkaya, a butcher who named the cat and used to feed it, said that the sculpture went missing overnight. "They broke it and took it away. We couldn't figure out who these people are," Çetinkaya said.
Kadıköy Municipality also confirmed the incident and stated a new sculpture will be erected.
The fuzzy cat became popular after her photos, showing her sitting like a boss on a side walk, were circulated on social media channels. Often resembling Garfield's lazy style, Tombili had fallen ill in July and passed away a month later.
According to an article in the Sabah daily, Tombili was born in the neighborhood of Ziverbey along with her sister, "Kezban," who lost her life when she was very small. Züleyla Sarıca and Bahtiyar Sarıca, the owners of the house where Tombili was born, said, "When they were babies we made a small cottage in the garden. Everyone loved them and came to see them to take photos."
The word "tombili" is frequently used for chubby pets in Turkish. Residents in Ziverbey's Güleç Çıkmazı Street announced her passing by hanging posters, saying "You will live in our hearts" on the tree where Tombili would lay beside.