Bavarian town honours celebrated and loved Birman cat, Chicco

Chicco was a celebrated Birman tomcat who had the habit of wandering around his Bavarian hometown, Memmingen, but he died suddenly at the age of five and a sculpture has been erected in his honour.

Chicco's statue in bronze in Memmingen by the artist Cornelia Brader. Is that here in the picture? I think it is
Chicco’s statue in bronze in Memmingen by the artist Cornelia Brader. Is that the artist in the picture? I think it is. Image: The Times.
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Was Chicco a Birman?

The first point to discuss is whether Chicco was a purebred Birman cat or not. The Times says that he was a Birman which is a medium-longhaired pointed cat with white feet. Bild, the German newspaper, says that Chicco was a Burmese. Perhaps both of them are wrong if the picture published on the Bild website is correct. It shows a flame pointed medium-longhaired cat outside in the town. Chicco looks like a Balinese, a medium-longhaired Siamese cat. There’s no sign of white feet which rules out Chicco being a Birman and Chicco certainly wasn’t a Burmese because they look quite different to Chicco. Confused!

Chicco when he roamed around the town. He looks like a traditional flame pointed Balinese or a flame pointed random-bred cat. Handsome
Chicco when he roamed around the town. He looks like a traditional flame pointed Balinese or a flame pointed random-bred cat. Handsome. Image: Photo: Paul Künst / Facebook.

My guess is that Chicco was a very handsome non-purebred cat with flame (red) pointing. Alternatively, he was a Balinese but as he was let outside all the time to roam freely it would indicate that he wasn’t purebred. Wrong? Can the owner please comment?!

Loved

It doesn’t really matter because he was famous in the town and he has attracted the attention of the news media on his passing. We don’t know why he died so young but his death has caused an outbreak of emotion in the town.

For instance, fans called a local radio station saying: “He was our little Memmingen star and I cried so much when I heard he had died, it touched my heart.”

He had a habit of sleeping in cafés or roaming alleyways. The mayor of Memmingen has just unveiled a life-size bronze statue at a ceremony this week. Residents raised €4000 to pay for it.

It’s meant to be a faithful likeness of Chicco (wrong – see below) and was crafted by the artist Cornelia Brader. The artist said: “I saw him every day in town. He was so friendly, he let everyone stroking. He was such a beautiful cat.”

Bronze

The monument of Chicco does not look like the living cat and as mentioned the monument is meant to be a good likeness. I’m confused. But who really cares?

Correction: Cornelia actually says that she tried to strike a balance between a statue with a strong likeness to Chicco but which was not too naturalistic so that people could interpret the monument in their own way. She added: “I wanted to leave it a bit open to interpretation”.

Chicco had a human caregiver and he wore a GPS tracker collar around his neck. That indicates that the owner deliberately allowed him to go outside and was concerned about his whereabouts and kept an eye on him with the GPS tracker. He was dubbed “Stadtkater” which translates to town tomcat because he was a frequent visitor to the town center; the old town.

He had his own Facebook page (which I can’t find at the moment!) where admirers could share photographs of him in front of a shop or curled up on a bench and even sitting on the laps of people visiting the town center.

Made citizens smile

Another resident said: “When I was out jogging, he would jump out of a bush in the park and wanted to be stroked and of course I obliged”.

Another Facebook user wrote: “What Chicco achieved in his short life – making people smile – that’s something some humans never achieve in a lifetime.”

Now that is the point: cats make us smile. The make us feel better. They entertain us and distract us from our daily emotional struggles. RIP Chicco, you were a public servant.

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