The Acropolis Cat that Became a Landmark on Google Maps

How Titan, the well-fed ginger and white cat, earned his own Google Maps pin with a 4.9 rating.


“If there was a king in Athens, it would be him,” says one of the comments on Google Maps. “He’s languid and stoic like a Greek god, the most impressive of all ancient sites,” continues another. “The Acropolis? The Parthenon? Please. The first thing you ought to see is Titan,” says a third.  The award for the most outrageous review we read goes to “I traveled from Italy just to see him, and it was definitely worth it; I’ll definitely come back.”

So far, there are some 423 reviews from users who sought him out and shared their experience. Some managed to track him down, while others did not, but almost all of them expressed their enthusiasm for taking part in the hunt for the Acropolis’ most popular cat.

 

We’re talking about Titan, the well-fed ginger and white cat who has earned his own Google Maps pin with a rating of 4.9, where tourists can record their experiences and share photos with him or even upload videos of their entire search for him.

According to the testimonials of Google’s aspiring detectives, he is often surrounded by a security team consisting of cats of different colors. “We couldn’t get past his guards. However, one of them, the ginger one, allowed us to take a photo of him instead,” one of them said.

Others have given him five-star ratings. After three or four attempts, they would find him lying behind bushes or posing on houses in Plaka, avoiding human contact. In fact, people think that he is rather distant. “It’s clear that this cat is aware of his high status, which is why he didn’t approach us. However, he didn’t run away either; instead, he let us admire his beauty from afar. It was the highlight of our trip.”

Some of the descriptions were even more vivid than expected. “There was an incredible tension in the air as we approached the area where the giant was supposed to be. We let our gazes wander for a moment, and sure enough, there he was. Lying there in all his grandeur, he seized the day with an air of triumph. What a magnificent sight it was to see this colossus cast his afternoon shadow over the Acropolis.”

The search for Titan

Spurred on by our curiosity and the enthusiastic comments, we went on the hunt as well. We walked up Thrasillou Street from the Acropolis metro station for five minutes before turning right into a narrow alley and arriving in Titan’s neighborhood.

Next to the Acropolis ticket desk, near a taverna inviting its first visitors of the day to have lunch to the sound of classic folk songs, the Google Maps alert chimed, informing us that we had reached our destination.

We assumed that the treats given to him by those eating here must have been decisive for the cat’s “baptism.” We found our first clues in the ruins of a building: two cats were searching for food, but their color indicated that neither was the one we were looking for. 

@jessicaxviana Titan the Cat should be at the top of your Athens itinerary 😉🐈 Titan is part of a colony managed by Nine Lives Greece, a volunteer organisation that helps stray cats in Athens, through feeding, vet care, neutering and adoption. So there’s no need to bring him treats (he might get too mighty!) but water is okay 💕 #athenstravel #visitathens #athensitinerary #athenshiddengems #titancat ♬ Mamma Mia – ABBA

A honey-colored cat appeared close by, meowing in front of an empty food bowl and looking at the passersby. Despite some resemblance, it seemed unlikely that this was the legend we were looking for; it was much less physically imposing. Even though we searched the area extensively, encountering some friendly cats as well as a few whose aloofness immediately piqued our curiosity, our efforts were in vain. None resembled the beloved star that had won over the visitors to the Acropolis.

After we had moved away from the area, we checked back on Google Maps and discovered a few more comments. Among them was a comment from the volunteer network “Nine Lives Greece,” which aims to reduce stray cat overpopulation through spaying, neutering, and relocation programs. According to the group’s website, they help spay over 1700 stray cats in Athens each year and improve the quality of life for over 500 cats through daily feeding and veterinary care programs. Titan appeared to be one of them.

We got in touch with Eleni Kefalopoulou, the organization’s founder and the person in charge of the cat colonies near the Acropolis, where 200 animals are fed every day and 500 have undergone spaying.

“‘Fatty,’ as we call him, belongs to one of our colonies. He was always chubby, but two years ago, he started gaining too much weight. We immediately took him to the vet to see if he had any heart or diabetes issues, or if it was just fluid retention. All of the tests eventually came back normal, and our vet informed us that we were overfeeding him. Since he was eating the same amount as the other cats in the group, who were also fed once a day, we think one of the neighbors was feeding him pasta or rice with cat food on it. We asked the neighbors not to feed him, and volunteers would come by during the day to give him high-quality food so that he would be full and not eat junk food. This improved the situation. His celebrity exacerbated the issue because tourists fed him souvlaki, croquettes, and restaurant food. We asked that they not leave any food because we were caring for the cats. Fatty is doing much better now, and he has lost almost half his weight.”

We rushed back to the spot we had just left, eager to have another look at the potential legends, but the cats had vanished. Perhaps our paths crossed for a split second. Perhaps he is lying under the foliage right now, enjoying life and building his fame, comment by comment. Perhaps he is hiding again, this time from the annoying types who pester him with their photos every day, or perhaps he’s playing with them in a corner, enjoying their affection. Nothing is certain about this enigmatic guardian of the Acropolis, except that he is still at large.



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