How An Adorable Fat Cat Became This European Town's Top Tourist Attraction

If you've visited the town of Szczecin in Poland, you may have come across a very special resident. Gacek the cat, or Kot Gacek (meaning "long-eared bat" in Polish), was a tourist attraction for about 10 years. Don't worry, fellow animal lovers. That past tense doesn't mean he's no longer with us.

Gacek (pronounced "Gatsek") hasn't only charmed people as they pass by. He's made enough of an impact that they started giving him star ratings on Google Maps. That's right. This fuzzy tuxedo cat has an almost perfect rating. Gacek even has his very own Instagram account and was featured on a local news station in the area in 2020. His story has made the rounds, with people even getting Gacek tattoos. The so-called "King of Kaszubska Street," the place where he lived for a decade, is doing just fine these days. Let's take a look at the history of this fancy feline gentleman, find out where he is now, and what he's doing to help other stray animals.

The King of Kaszubska Street

If you've visited European cities like Rome or Athens, you've likely seen plenty of street cats lounging on corners or sitting on statues with a bowl of food nearby. Many places take good care of them, though tourists love to visit with these kitties and feed them. Sometimes, that isn't the best thing for stray cats, as the most popular can become unhealthily overweight. Consider that when you see one and go up to pet and feed them, this might be the 10th time it's happened today. 

As you can see in the first picture, Gacek was getting a little... ahem... fluffy. In fact, he was about 11 pounds overweight. He was living in a little wooden house on the street, and he was very popular. However, a sign was put over his home asking people not to bother him while he napped and to only feed him when he was out. In April 2023, the publicity and concern for the tuxedo cat caught the attention of the city's Animal Welfare Society (TOZ). They decided to step in and make sure Gacek wouldn't come to any harm.

The cat celebrity gets a celebrity's name

That month, the Animal Welfare Society took him in and gave him an exam. They determined that Gacek was at least 10 years old and that his weight was unhealthy. The fame was becoming an issue, and someone even tried to kidnap him at one point as well. Their decision was to take him in and give him temporary housing while searching for a forever home. He was given medical care, slimmed down to a healthy weight (as you can see above), and got a warm place to stay. Then, the public and worldwide fans of this exceedingly handsome and very good boy got some wonderful news. 

Gacek, the King of Kaszubska Street, found an official home in November 2023. It was announced by the Szczecin Animal Welfare Society on Facebook that Gacek is now called George after George Clooney. They also announced the campaign to get donations to help feed other homeless animals in the area by having Gacek, aka George's fans, send food to the organization. Not every stray cat gets an ending with a happy home and the ability to help other cats. While you may not be able to see him on the streets of Szczecin anymore, you can follow him on his Instagram account. Gratulacje, George!