Gacek the cat first rose to fame in 2020 after being featured in a video that has since amassed over five million views.
A stray cat in Poland made international headlines earlier this year after being voted the best tourist attraction in the city of Szczecin.
The animal named Gacek – meaning long-eared bat in Polish – had lived for years in a wooden box on Kaszubska Street.
Dubbed ‘King of Kaszubska Street’, he became a global sensation after receiving thousands of reviews and five-star ratings on Google Maps.
But after becoming a little too chunky, the feline has now been given a new home and a healthier lifestyle.
Gacek became a top-rated tourist attraction
Gacek first rose to fame in 2020 after being featured in a video by local news outlet wSzczecinie. The clip has since amassed over five million views.
Earlier this year, his story circulated in the global media after the feline beat historic sites like the 14th-century Pomeranian Dukes’ Castle to become the top-rated city attraction.
A listing for Gacek attracted almost 500 reviews and an average five-star rating in just 48 hours. The rotund black and white cat had almost 2,500 glowing reviews on Google Maps before his listing was removed, according to local reports.
Poland’s popular cat gets new home
Gacek’s fame soon led to concerns for his health, however, after he received too many treats from tourists, some of whom had travelled specially to see him.
In April, Szczecin’s Animal Welfare Association (TOZ) intervened after finding that the cat was suffering from teeth and joint problems, according to a post on the organisation’s Facebook page.
He received treatment but still needed to lose 4-5 kilogrammes. As such, the famous feline was adopted and moved to a new home where his diet could be controlled.
Rescue of famed Polish cat draws criticism
Despite acting in the cat’s best interests, TOZ was criticised by some city residents over its actions.
Locals called for Gacek to be returned to the streets and claimed the shelter was attempting to profit from the cat’s celebrity status, news website Gazeta.pl reports.
“It was very hard on us,” TOZ wrote on Facebook in September. “A bucket of hate was poured on us from many sides.”
The shelter recently shared photos of the feline looking trimmer and healthier. The post also announced the cat’s new name.
“From now on, call me George…George Clooney in cat version, yes that’s the new me,” it reads. “I’m fit and I feel good about it. I run up the stairs, and jump on countertops.”
The feline’s fame is also being used to help other creatures in need. The shelter has asked people to donate food for fellow street cats in honour of the black and white feline.
People can also contribute to a crowdfunding campaign called “Gacek buys food for the homeless,” where donations have already topped the original target.
The only downside? With a new home, new name and much healthier lifestyle, Gacek no longer has a listing on Google Maps and has lost his spot as Szczecin’s top tourist attraction.