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Meet The Most Famous Cats Of Eastern Europe

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Photo: Meet the Most Famous Cats of Eastern Europe, Source: Collage The Gaze \ by Leonid Lukashenko
Photo: Meet the Most Famous Cats of Eastern Europe, Source: Collage The Gaze \ by Leonid Lukashenko

To become a famous cat, you don't necessarily have to be of an elite breed, win first place at prestigious shows, or be adopted by a Hollywood star. If you're lucky enough to be born a) a cat and b) a cat in Eastern Europe, you can easily become a celebrity just by being yourself.

Eastern European cats are not just ordinary mousers. Some of them become local attractions, feature on the covers of glossy magazines, keep order in town halls, start profitable businesses, set national records, and even heroically demonstrate how to survive in wartime apocalypse conditions.

Gacek

What are cats usually known for? Drinking milk, eating fish, hunting birds and mice, enjoying pets from their owners, and confusing their litter box with household slippers. But how many cats do you know that have become a landmark on Google Maps? At least one such cat exists: his name is Gacek, nationality – Polish, civil status – homeless, breed – domestic cat, color – black and white, weight – 10 kilograms, location – Szczecin city, Kashubian Street. From 2020-23, tourists from all over Europe came specifically to see Gacek and receive his signature portion of indifference, if not contempt. The famous cat was constantly fed all sorts of treats and also received a wooden house from kind-hearted people. However, life on the street, even if you are a superstar in the cat world, does not pass without a trace. Gacek's obesity, his sick teeth, and paws led to the "King of Kashubian Street" being taken for treatment by animal advocates, after which he was adopted by a Polish family. Watch Gacek's story


Stepan

Another cat who became famous during the pandemic is a Ukrainian tabby named Stepan. His main feature was his poker face. A photo of the unflappable Stepan with a glass of wine gained over a million likes when it was reposted by Britney Spears on her Instagram. Becoming a global star, Stepan hoped for crazy advertising contracts with cat food manufacturers – but it was not meant to be. When Russia started bombing his native Kharkiv in February 2022, Stepan, along with his owner Anna, evacuated to Poland and then to France, where he even made it to the cover of "Times Monaco." However, the luxurious life on the Côte d'Azur did not make Stepan forget his native Ukraine. He raised over $10,000 for war-affected shelters, became an ambassador for the Ministry of Culture, and finally switched from purring in Russian to meowing in Ukrainian. Follow Stepan on Instagram


Miti

Common sense, rationality, and prudence – these are the mottos of one Romanian cat, who, being a single mother preparing to give birth, made the best possible choice. Instead of giving birth somewhere in a dusty attic or dirty basement, Miti from Iași, feeling labor pains, went straight to a 24-hour veterinary clinic. She circled the building, found the main entrance, sat down, and began meowing insistently, calling for attention. Soon the vets came out to her and helped Miti give birth to four kittens – two boys and two girls. Miti's maternal instinct and unusually developed intelligence so impressed all Romanians that her kittens were snapped up like hotcakes, but no one wanted to take the heroic mother cat herself. She remains in the care of the veterinary clinic to this day. Watch Miti's story


Szilveszter Botond

The most famous cat in Hungary doesn't have a social media page, doesn't eat pet food, and doesn't wake its owner by climbing onto their head in the morning. Instead, she roams alone in the volcanic zone of the Carpathians – the Börzsöny mountain range, feuding with the local wolves and only revealing herself to humans when she gets caught in camera traps. This is the wild lynx known as Szilveszter Botond. First spotted in 2015, she (although it could be a male) immediately became a local celebrity. The lynx, as the largest cat in Europe, had practically gone extinct in Hungary by the early 20th century but has slowly started to repopulate these areas in the 21st century. Today, expeditions to search for the lynx Szilveszter Botond or at least her tracks in the snow are a popular pastime for tourists visiting the Duna–Ipoly National Park. Watch Szilveszter Botond's story


Levchyk

Once, this stray cat climbed onto the balcony of Lviv's town hall and snuck into an office, where he took a liking to the mayor's chair. The cheeky feline was decided to be kept at the administration and, moreover, was made the official Cat Mayor of Lviv and named Levchyk. Since then, he not only delights residents with his photos on Instagram but also receives delegations of Ukrainian and foreign officials. Sometimes, however, he behaves very politically incorrect. For instance, if you are a fervent cat lover, Levchyk will honor you with his purring, but if you are, for example, an avid beekeeper, it's best to stay away from this cat, or you might end up like the third President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko. Recently, after visiting Lviv, Yushchenko decided to meet Levchyk, but it seems his hands smelled not of milk but honey – so the cat scratched them with his claws and ran away. Watch Levchyk's story


Wrocek

There's also a town hall cat on the other side of the border from Lviv – in Wrocław, Poland. After a luxurious "British" cat was abandoned at the local train station, he was adopted by Mayor Jacek Sutryk. Through a public vote, the four-legged assistant of the Wrocław administration was named Wrocek. The cat not only oversees meetings and the making of important decisions at the town hall but also encourages tourists to visit the city and takes care of homeless animals who are less fortunate. Two years ago, a local cat-hater filed a complaint with the sanitary and epidemiological station, claiming that Wrocek posed a serious threat to town hall visitors who are allergic to cats. However, the vaccinated and well-groomed cat, with 20,000 Instagram followers, did not allow the slanderer to oust him from his cozy place and continued to develop as a Wrocław celebrity – for example, he released a computer game about himself called "Jumping Wrocek." Follow Wrocek on Instagram


Naglis

The most famous Lithuanian cat lives in Kernavė and is renowned for his entrepreneurial spirit. Formally, Naglis is under the care of the local priest, but it is a big question as to who actually supports whom. There are days when tourists and parishioners leave almost no money in the church collection box, but the ginger cat, sitting with a cup for small change by the door, always has a steady income. For example, one summer, by making eyes at passersby and purring comfortably, he collected a whole 300 euros, which helped feed himself, his cat brother, buy treats for the parish dog, and even give a bit of money to the priest. Watch Naglis's story

Myška

This famous Persian cat from Český Krumlov was initially named Snow White, but she should actually be called All-chewer. After all, it is likely that her diverse diet is the secret to why Myška recently celebrated her 20th birthday (an impressive achievement for a cat). The vet prescribed a strict diet and medical procedures due to her kidney issues, but on her milestone birthday, Myška devoured a salty salami cake and simply licked her chops. This white beauty knows better than anyone that what matters is not how long your life lasts, but how high-quality, interesting, and hedonistic it is. Thus, although Myška always has special food in her bowl, she persistently demands her favorite cheese, ham, bacon, and yogurt from her owners for the third decade in a row. Read Myška's story

Gloria

If you think that God sends you overly difficult trials in life, look at the cat Gloria (also known as Shafa) from the Ukrainian town of Borodyanka. At first, Gloria was left alone at home because her owners, who went to visit friends at the start of the full-scale invasion, could not return for her due to constant shelling. For several days, this not-so-young cat listened in horror to the explosions outside the window. Then, in March, the entire entrance of her building was destroyed. But Gloria miraculously survived on a small piece of concrete slab that remained sticking out instead of an apartment on the seventh floor. She survived both the strike and the following two months, even though no one fed or gave her water. When the cat was noticed and rescued by animal volunteers, it didn't mean she would soon return to her human family. Twelve Ukrainians claimed that she was their cat. So, a long recovery from stress and digestive problems, along with the process of determining who her real owner was, further frayed Gloria's nerves. But it all ended well – the cat not only became a symbol of the resilience of Ukrainians but also finally returned to her owner. Follow Gloria on Instagram



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