Caturday felids trifecta: Hong Kong shop cats; Parsley, Oban’s GPS-tracked cat, and Gli, the Hagia Sofia cat (plus lagniappe!)

The first gives a few pictures from a new book, Hong Market Cats, by photographer Marcel Heijnin. I saw lots of shop cats when I visited that city, and here are a few photos from Hiejnen’s book. They’re taken from the first link as well as articles in The Guardian and in the South China Morning Post.


This video on the book has more photos:

********* has the story of the Oban cat Parsley, a formidable Maine Coon (click on screenshot to read the story):

Parsley is a pretty big deal. Over on Facebook he has more than 6,000 fans from all over the world, and he’s so loved that people make trips to his hometown of Oban, in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, just to see him.

His movements are even tracked by GPS so people can get the best chance of spotting him – because Parsley loves a proper wander by the seaside, so it’s not too easy to find him.

Parsley is so popular that he now has his own merchandise for fans to buy, in the form of prints, coasters, and keyrings sold at a local gift shop.

His owner, Fiona, said: ‘He is bringing in dozens of tourists who come to see him from all over the world. ‘People are booking holidays next year from the States, Canada and Australia especially to see him. ‘People might think “Nobody does that just to see a cat,” but they do. It is amazing the number of people who come to see him.

‘I put a status on his Facebook page asking people to comment if they had come to see him and say where they came from. ‘People were saying their sole reason for coming if not to Oban, even to Scotland, was because they were going to fit in a visit to Parsley. ‘I have to say to people I hope they won’t be disappointed coming all this way because he is just a cat.

It’s staggering – I know I wouldn’t go all that way just to see a cat.

Just a cat? Seriously? He’s an awesome Maine Coon, three years old:

‘But when they come they are delighted to see him — it makes their whole holiday.’

Fiona sets up appointments for people to come and meet Parsley at his local pub, The Balmoral Hotel, where they can give him all the chin strokes he requires. Visitors can also find the cat volunteering at soup kitchen Hope Kitchen, where he hosts his own cat cafe.

Parsley is considered somewhat of an expert in all things Oban, having lived there for all three years of his life so far. The cat will receive messages asking for his recommendations on hotels and places to visit, so much so that Fiona’s urging Oban’s tourist board to be more cat-oriented.

Part of his allure? Parsley’s adventurous spirit. At just eight months old he began wandering around the town, popping into local shops and pubs (his favourite pub is the Balmoral, FYI) to say hello.

He travels an average of three to four miles a day, with his personal best 10K in 24 hours. ‘He has been in lots of different shops, beauty salons, hairdresser’s, the local Leisure Centre, Fish and Chip shops, he’s even been to the town’s distillery – and he was pictured on the piano at a nearby music studio,’ says Fiona.


If you’re in Oban for vacation or a wee dram, stop by and see Parsley. The first reader who sends me a photo of themselves with the cat will get a free autographed book (either FvF or WEIT).  In the meanwhile, you can see more photos of Parsley, and videos too, on his Facebook page.


Yesterday marked the beginning of construction of the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, which started as an Orthodox church. It was later a mosque, then a museum, and now is part museum, part mosque. I’ve visited it several times, and once saw a tabby there. I think it was this one, who has her own page on the Hagia Sofia website (click on screenshot):

A tourist guide writes about Gli:

I discover something new in each visit… the glow of the mosaics, the colors of the frescoes, the magnificence of the marbles and a cute cat who stands on the Empress Lodge posing for many tourists. This scene softens my heart because lots of people from all around the world are getting together with the love of a cat.

The name of this love is Gli “Union of Love” and here comes the life story of Gli: Archeologist Defne Bali who has worked for Hagia Sophia for years was like a mother to Gli. Gli had one brother, Pati and a sister, Kızım. Their mother was Sofi. They were born in 2004. Pati died, unfortunately. Bilgen Deveci, one of our restorers chose the name “Gri” (in English: Grey) for Gli at first. However, because of its cuteness and squinty eyes its name became Gli. I chose the name “Kızım” for her sister. When she was little, Kızım went under one of the maksures of Hagia Sophia and stucked there for a while. We saved her later but because she meowed so much then, she became silent for the next two years.

This is very sad:

Gli had only one kitten all her life. A beautiful jet-black she-cat named “Karakız” who had an accident because of a tour-bus. She stayed in a vet for a while for her broken back. However, we had no chance to take a care of him at the museum because of then-manager who hates cats so we had to put her sleep.

I visited Istanbul for the second time in March 2008 and, as always in that town, I carry a box of cat food in my daypack. I saw a tabby in the Hagia Sofia and fed her. Here’s the photo, and now I’m pretty sure it was Gli. That makes me happy.


Lagniappe from reader Hardy:

This photo from @yitzhak_rosen on Twitter. Apparently somebody planted catnip outside their house in Tel Aviv.

How many cats can you count? And is that really catnip?

h/t: Winnie, Snowy Owl, Ronaldo


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Those Hong Kong markets have all kindsa possibilities for a Jackie Chan Kung Fu movie, especially with that hatchet.

  2. Taskin
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    I counted 42 cats in the photo and particularly like the one draped on top of the wall 🙂

    • David Coxill
      Posted February 24, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Can’t stop myself from humming white Rabbit while looking at the photo .

  3. Posted February 24, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    British readers of a certain age will recall that Parsley was the name of the friendly lion in the children’s television series “The Herbs”, created by Michael Bond, who also wrote the Paddington stories. I’m sure that Parsley the Maine Coon must be named after his leonine namesake.

  4. Desnes Diev
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    I remember a morning in Hagia Sophia. I was the first visitor to enter and for at least half an hour I observed a mother cat moving her litter from a place to somewhere else. She was walking graciously back and forth, with or without a kitten in her mouth, in the rays of light peppered with dust. The silence was at the same time complete and full of the magisterial theme of an everlasting History.

  5. Newish Gnu
    Posted February 24, 2018 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    I don’t remember a cat at the Hagia Sofia specifically but I do remember loads of cats generally in Istanbul, including a bunch near the Blue Mosque.

  6. philfinn7
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Can tell the colour of the cat from the name – ‘Karakiz’ means Black girl or Black daughter.

  7. philfinn7
    Posted February 25, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Jerry – it’s a museum. If you say it’s part museum part mosque, you are going along with what Erdogan wants!

  8. Posted March 4, 2018 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful cat photos!

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