Many cities have their own symbols from the animal world. The symbol of Berlin, for example, is a bear, the symbol of Rome is a wolf, the symbol of Jerusalem is a lion, and Kaliningrad has its own symbol of a cat.
There is a legend that once all the inhabitants of the city abandoned it when it was besieged by the enemies of Königsberg. All the domestic animals abandoned the city with them. All except the cats; they remained in the city and later greeted the city dwellers who had returned victorious.
Since then cats have won exclusive approval. They are often and lavishly fed, which is why the majority of them are fat and pleased with life.
Generally, thinking it over, cats are real native city dwellers. It turned out that people are replaced by one another, but cats never left the city. Cats have lived in the city for ages.
When Königsberg became Kaliningrad and the part of the Soviet Union after World War II, immigrants arrived here with their dogs, cows, goats and even pigs. But as a rule, they did not bring cats with them because these freedom-loving animals are extremely difficult to transport. Local cats whose distant ancestors still remembered ancient Prussians, were taken into homes as pets.
Nowadays in the King’s Gates – there is a bronze statue of a “Prussian cat” which is considered to bring wealth and luck to everybody who scratches it behind the ear. No wonder its head is glistening. Moreover, guides say that this cat is keeping keys for all the city gates. However, the creator of the sculpture, local artist Ludmila Bogatova, states that while working on this piece of art she did not try to create a collective image of all the local cats. She simply wanted to make something similar to her own pet Mitya that was round, cunning, but surprisingly kind and calm.
“I made that work in 2004 for the exhibition in Kaliningrad, said Bogatova. The Director of the Museum of the World Ocean Svetlana Sivkova saw it there, bought it, and ordered it to be put in the restored King’s Gates”.
Very soon the “Prussian cat” became extremely popular and not only in Kaliningrad. Now many small copies of Ludmila Bogatova’s work are sold at the “King’s Gates” every day. They are sent to all the countries of the world as souvenirs. Today many people associate our city with this pretty creature that is full of inner dignity.
It is worth mentioning that as far as cats in Kaliningrad are believed to be special animals, every year at the end of February, beginning of March, the “King’s Gates” museum open a week of the “Prussian Cat”, which includes various thematic exhibitions, quizzes, master classes and so on. Hopefully, this year you will also join in and have fun.