There are few places around the world where people don’t love cats. And what’s not to like? They are cute, cuddly, funny, and they keep vermin away from your home. Some cats even rise above the fray and become famous in places far and wide. Meet some cats who are tops in their native lands and around the globe.
1. GLI // TURKEY
The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was built as a Greek Orthodox church, then was converted into a mosque, and is now a museum visited by people from all over the world. Several cats live at the museum, but the most famous and friendly is a cross-eyed cat named Gli. Gli is glad to meet and have his picture taken with tourists and diplomats alike. See a gallery of pictures of Gli at the blog Hagia Sophia Cat.
2. FAMOUSNIKI // RUSSIA
A Russian cat named Niki became famous for his habit of sitting like a human, and after pictures of the cat became so popular online, owner Victoria Virta gave Niki his own Instagram gallery and Facebook page. Now known as FamousNiki, the Scottish fold is also noted for his ability to rise up on his back legs and his amusing facial expressions. He has been featured in ads for several products in Russia, and will soon be the subject of a book.
3. JESPER // NORWAY
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Jesper is an adventurous cat who enjoys the great outdoors around Hedmark, Norway. He enjoys hiking, fishing, camping, flying, and posing for pictures. But Jesper became famous worldwide for going cross-country skiing with his owner Aina Stormo. Jesper doesn’t wear skis himself, but can keep up with a skier by running alongside them. He also knows that if he ever gets tired, he can always ride on Stormo’s shoulders.
4. SCARFACE // SINGAPORE
Scarface was a feral cat living (and fighting) on the streets of Singapore until 2012, when he was trapped by cat behaviorist Rebecca Ho. The Cat Welfare Society tended to Scarface’s wounds and Ho set out to domesticate him. He now lives at the Society’s cattery, where he helps care for the younger kittens, and lends his image to help raise funds for the shelter. Scarface’s Facebook page has amusing captions for his photos and videos, like this:
Scar had one true love affair and that was with the Durian. Nobody will ever know if his nose was broken or his brain's sensory receptors fried, but no one got between Scar and his durian.
Scarface says his goals in life are to eat and to scare the dog.
5. SÄMPY // FINLAND
Sämpy lives in Kalime, Finland, where he runs free in the forests and meadows and lives to get a bite of butter from his “secretary,” who follows him around with a camera. Sämpy’s Facebook page is full of pictures showing him having fun with his sisters Nelli and Elmer.
6. BROTHER CREAM // HONG KONG
Brother Cream’s full name is Tsim Tung Brother Cream. The British shorthair was a well-known employee at a convenience store in Hong Kong, but achieved stardom after he was catnapped in 2012. Local fans posted notices and searched for the cat, and Brother Cream was found 26 days later and three pounds lighter. Brother Cream rejoined his partner Miu Miu (Sister Cream) at the store and enjoyed his growing celebrity. The cats became so famous that their owner Ko Chee-shing had to enforce rest times for them because they had so many visitors. The cat has “authored” two books, appeared in advertisements, and graces many products sold through his website.
7. SNOOPY // CHINA
Snoopy is an exotic shorthair cat who lives in Chengdu, Sichuan, China. As a show cat, Snoopy's owner shared numerous pictures of him on Weibo—China’s premiere social media site—in 2012. He was an instant viral sensation! An Instagram gallery and a Tumblr blog introduced the cute cat to the rest of the world. There are also numerous Snoopy sites run by fans.
8. SHIRONEKO // JAPAN
Shironeko is a Turkish van cat who became famous for his laid-back attitude. He’s so chill that you rarely see him with his eyes open, and he gamely sits still for pictures in costumes, with objects piled on his head, while taking abuse from the other cats he lives with. The name Shironeko means simply “white cat.” A blog featuring his photographs gained followers as soon as it was launched in 2006. Within a year, his photos began circulating outside Japan, and he was nicknamed “Basket Cat” since he was often seen sitting in a basket or with a basket perched on his head. His attitude also earned him the nickname “Zen Cat.” Shironeko and his buddies TyaTora, Tibi, Mimi, Kuro, and Nora can also be seen on YouTube, where it is evident that the other cats are learning patience and tolerance from him. However, none of them can sit still through chaos like Shironeko can.
9. 10 CATS // JAPAN
The family who posts under the name 10 Cats was once known as 9 Cats, but they tell us they now have 11 cats. However, the logo was already made, so the blog now says 10 Cats +1. They are Lulu, Musashi, μ, Kojiro, Maru, Taro, Michelle, May, Mi-ke,Osamu, and the new kitten Momo. These cats are most famous for their YouTube videos, where you can see how they interact with each other.
10. MARU // JAPAN
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The world-famous Maru is a Scottish fold cat born in Japan in 2007. Maru means round or circle, and the name fits this calm, round cat well. Although his blog I Am Maru has been around since 2007, Maru’s owner and photographer have managed to remain anonymous. Maru is a staple of YouTube, where he is known for his fascination with boxes of any kind. Videos in which Maru insists on sitting in a box that’s too small for him are particularly popular, but he's also pretty amusing with a large box, too. In 2013, Maru was joined by a new sister named Hana. Maru has published two books so far.