The Smoking Cat of Italy

So here’s a bizarre little story on a sort of Halloween theme.

When I was visiting Italy in September, I stumbled upon the Bar Orlando. They were touting a cat there who, apparently, did something very special. He had his own statue, his own mural, and his own post cards. What did this cat do? He smoked.

The tile design on the wall of Bar Orlando.

The tile design on the wall of Bar Orlando. “To see me is to believe.”

That’s right, he smoked. Now, I don’t condone any kitties going off and smoking (or any people teaching their cats to smoke for profit), but apparently this one made quite a lot of money from it and was very beloved in his day. Here’s the story:

The Bar Orlando was founded in Sant’Agata, Italy in 1907 by a man named Cilento Orlando. From what I can glean from the postcard, his son, in 1945, adopted a cat and named him Jolly. Actually, let me just quote the postcard for you (punctuation and spelling directly from the print):

“Alfredo took the management of the bar. He was a war veteran and an animal lover. Alfredo decided to organize a show with his prodigious cat, called Jolly. This show gave a turn to the bar, in fact, myriads of local and foreign pepole, came to see the Smoking cat. Now the bar is still managed by the same family with Alfredo’s son Orlando.”

The man who now owns the bar was very pleased to see us photographing his cat wall and came running out to give us postcards. Now, momFOD, being a non-smoker and a concerned cat parent, asked the question that I’m sure all of us wanted to know: Did he inhale?

The exuberant owner assured us that, while the cat did, indeed hold the cigarette in his mouth, and while yes, the cigarette was, indeed, lit, little Jolly never, EVER inhaled.

If you’re on the Amalfi Coast, walk on down to Sant’Agata and see Jolly for yourself. I mean, he’s not there. His statue is. Jolly would be more than 60 years old by now, and we all know that smoking shortens lifespans.

Photograph of the postcard.

Photograph of the postcard.

“People are like dust that disappears at the first gust of wind. But the signs they can leave, are Eternal.” – Aflredo Cilento.

Please don’t smoke.



PS. Tomorrow, come back and see the AMAZING, OUTSTANDING, and PHENOMENAL photographs of John Boehm. I’ll be featuring another black cat and you won’t want to miss these portraits.