People & Stories

5 iconic cats from around the world

This International Cat Day we’re celebrating our wonderful furry friends, some of whom have touched the hearts of thousands of people from around the world. That’s everything from globetrotting kitties to stray-cats-turned-local-celebrities and a generous sprinkling of bodega mews. Looking to spot some of these famous felines on your next adventure? Here’s five of our favourite iconic cats from around the world.

Larry – Chief Mouser at 10 Downing Street, London

Being the Chief Mouser on 10 Downing Street is no mean feat. Despite historic evidence showing cats residing in the English government as far back as Henry VIII’s rule, it was only in 2011 when the title Chief Mouser was anointed. And to whom did the honorary title fall upon, you ask? None other than Larry – a proud brown-and-white tabby who was brought in by David Cameron to tackle the small mice population in the prime minister’s home. Since his adoption from Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Larry has celebrated 10 years on the prowl, much to the endearment of the British public and press. 

Trying to catch a glimpse of the Chief Mouser in action? Our London Explorer tour awaits…

Mittens – Mysterious Cat Adventurer in Wellington

Spend enough time in Wellington and you may come across a certain four-legged friend with a voracious appetite for adventure. Introducing… Mittens. A Turkish Angora who is busy exploring all four corners of the city, with locals snapping photos of him in universities, churches, and even a Latin salsa bar. Chances are if you can enter the place without the need for opposable thumbs, Mittens has set paw in there.

Despite roaming up to 20 kilometres a day in New Zealand’s capital, Mitten does in fact have owners. However, they’re more than happy for Mittens to continue his adventures, with local residents even happier at having the chance to snap a selfie with this local celebrity.

Check out @MittensOfWellington for your daily dose of feel-good

Ayasofya Kedisi Gli – Protector of Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Often found napping in the dimly-lit corners of the Hagia Sophia was a Turkish Shorthair named Aysofya Kedsi Gli, or ‘Gli’ for short. Having been raised in Istanbul’s most iconic landmark, Gli would often welcome both locals and tourists alike, quickly shooting to fame when he greeted Barack Obama in 2009. From then onwards, many would visit in the hopes of petting the famous cat, whose daily duties included mewing, napping and joining daily prayers. In 2020, Gli passed away after a long and happy life in the heart of Istanbul. 

Visit Gli’s beloved home on our Highlights of Istanbul tour

Tama – Station Master of Kishi Station, Wakayama, Japan

In 2006 all stations on the Kishigawa Line were destaffed to just one station master, cutting the costs of an already struggling service. One station in particular – Kishi station – had been on the brink of closure for a few years, and had been saved once a few years prior by locals. However with an absence of commuters, it seemed inevitable that Kishi station would soon be shut down.

Enter Tama the cat. In 2007, railway officials awarded this stray tortoiseshell cat with the title of station master. Fully decked out in a golden collar and a special hat, Tama had the prestigious job of welcoming passengers to Kishi. To say she was the employee of the month would be an huge understatement. Soon after Tama’s employment, visitors came trickling through the previously empty station doors, hoping to be greeted by the newest and furriest employee of Kishi. The Tama effect equalled a 10% increase in ridership that year, and the tourism ultimately saved the station from being closed down permanently.

Whilst Tama passed away in 2015, she has remained the “Honorary Eternal Stationmaster”, with fellow stray Nitama being appointed as her successor. 

Explore the charms of rural Japan with our Splendours of Japan tour

Bodega Cats – From New York & beyond

As any New Yorker will know, bodegas are the lifeblood of any neighbourhood. Here, in this bustling corner of the community, you can find anything from household goods to fresh, hearty meals made straight from the deli counter. And serving you will often be the bodega owner, otherwise known as the resident cat. 

These furry guardians have long been synonymous with a trip to the bodega, with @BoedgaCatsofInstagram showing off the very best of them. So don’t forget – next time you have a hankering for a late-night snack, make sure to bring the kitty kibble as payment!

Are you a fan of felines? Do you like meeting cats while travelling the world? Let us know about your favourite furry friends in the comments….

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