The Story of a Persian cat in a Persian Garden | Tehran, Iran

During my trip to Iran, I saw people who had dogs for pets but none who had cats. I’m sure many Iranians do keep cats as pets, I just didn’t meet them. I did see a number of ‘pishi’ cats though when I was out and about wandering around. Specially in Tehran. (By the way, a cat is called ‘gorbeh’ in Farsi, but ‘pishi’ is a cute somewhat childish slang for cat — the Persian version of “kitty,” I guess.)

But anyway, here’s goes the very short story of a particular Persian cat:

One time, I got to go to this place called Bagh ‘e Mouzeh ye honar (Iranian Art Museum Garden) — a beautiful space with (among other things) a sprawling garden with mini replica installations of famous Iranian monuments. In the Ellaiyeh neighborhood in the north of Tehran. Right around the Professor Hessabi intersection.

Iranian Art Museum Garden has several facilities and attractions but on that particular day, one of its greatest most irresistible draws was a cat …

A cat taking a sun bath, napping soundly and adorably, sprawled on a metal sculpture.

Everybody and their aunts, including yours truly and accompanying relatives, stood transfixed, staring at this cat, going: awwww! And we all took pictures. It was impossible to resist the impulse to immortalize the cuteness.

I couldn’t help snapping a photo of this family who, like the rest of us, were gobsmacked by the cute kitty cat.

I went back to the Art Museum Garden quite a number of times. One time there, I saw a huge production which turned out to be a shoot for a commercial.

But never again did I see a maloos pishi catching some sun-soaked Z’s on the sculpture.

And that’s the end of the tale of this particular Persian cat given to languidly reclining in a park. A slumbering pishi dreaming of mahee and panir and moosh.

Have a lovely weekend & may you slumber soundly & dream of your favorite thing.


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Comments (40)

  • diary of a tomato 7 years ago Reply

    Love how this moment captures what it must have been like returning to Iran — fleeting glimpses, a moment caught in time, a dream-like state…

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    & honestly (not kidding) I took lots of naps! believe it or not, ha ha

  • polianthus 7 years ago Reply

    awww cute – my Persian friends who lived in Tehran growing up used to have about 8 cats ……and my cat is called Gorbachev – based on the combination of a) gorbeh being farsi for cat 2) the fact he looks a bit like Putin but seemed mean, so he became gorbachev, but we call him Tchoffi 🙂 – my second cat who got run over was a long haired mix – salt and pepper and really hyperactive, and so she was named Felfeli 🙂 – greetings Poli

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    I think this is my most favorite comment, ever! LOVE the story, thank you for giving me a BIG smile & chuckle 🙂

    polianthus 7 years ago

    you are very welcome – glad to have brought a smile to your face, and I am happy that such a simple story could give you so much joy 🙂
    Like Pishi too 🙂 f I ever have another one I will call her Pishi – as long as she is black and white and chubby with long whiskers – she would look like a real pishi!

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago


  • Ahu Shahrabani 7 years ago Reply

    This is such an adorable story – what is it about cats that make them find the best, most snuggy & sunny napping positions!? Sometimes I wish I was a pishi 🙂

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    But you are an ahu! That’s even better than a pishi! I’ll confess though, I think I AM a pishi, ha ha. Ahu jan, btw, me and you and Azita must get together soon. We really should.

  • Banafsheh 7 years ago Reply

    Hey there! Did you know today is World’s Cat Day or was this post just a coincidence?
    Anyways, I just loved it.

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    Oh my God, totally a coincidence! Too funny, ha ha!

  • Amanda 7 years ago Reply

    That is too cute. It’s so cool to have sweet magical moments like this when you least expect them.

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    I agree, and also, sometimes when you are prepared to be charmed, things conspire to charm you … eh it that makes any sense

  • MyKabulKitchen 7 years ago Reply

    How sweet, my auntie always called us “pishika” which means kitty-cat so a post on a Pishi definitely warms my heart…what a sweet amusing little story but I am impressed by the art museum itself please do share more pictures of what you saw at the museum 🙂

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    Awww, I like ‘pishika’ even better, so cute. I’m going to use that! And thank you, I’m happy that you enjoyed this story & definitely will share more pictures of this quite interesting space.

  • Loved your picture story, Azita. I am pishi lover, after my two older cats passed away three years ago, sob …sob…, I finally got a new cat with just three legs and she is the sunshine of my life…. I talk to her in my little Farsi, call her all the time …. Joonam… and she responds to that.. Pishika is an even cuter name it.

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    Awww! Cornelia joon! How sweet the story of your sunshine kitty! Please hug your pishi joon (pishika joon) from me. 🙂

    Thank you Azita joon, I will try to hug her from you. So far she is shying away from my hugs, since must have had gone through a trauma @ her previous owner, though she loves to cuddle in the mornings in my bed.

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago

    Well a cuddle is good too! This reminds me of my little nephew when he was very little and he very seriously would say that he would like to: cuddle but not snuggle. And I always got the distinctions wrong!

    cuddle and snuggle, a big difference for cats!!!

  • Such a lovely warm spot for a nap! I think I need one of those metal sculptures put up in our garden. 🙂

  • Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    Ha ha, I’m trying to picture you slumbering snugly like a cute pishi cat on a metal sculpture in your garden! 🙂

  • Tricia A. Mitchell 7 years ago Reply

    Azita, a charming departure from your equally-delightful (but tempting) culinary tales. ‘Pishi papparazzi’ — brought a big smile to my face. 🙂

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    Awww, makes me smile reading about it and thank you! purrrrrrr

  • apuginthekitchen 7 years ago Reply

    Awww…. cute kitty and what a sweet photo, napping on the sculpture. The museums garden is gorgeous.

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    Such a gorgeous space. It was in the poshest part of Tehran but an old building. Just charming.

  • lapetitecasserole 7 years ago Reply

    I think this cat understood everything… why wasting time going around? Sun bathing during a nap (high quality nap!!!) has been the best choice ever!

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    Exactamento! Cats are smart and they know how to enjoy life!

  • Sophie33 7 years ago Reply

    hahahahahahahhah,…what a fun post, dear friend! xx Loved it!

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    my pleasure, my friend! 🙂

  • Francesca 7 years ago Reply

    Perfect spot for a nap. As you know I’m not a pet person. Now Sofia changed everything but I’m still very cautious when it comes to cats. They are outrageously beautiful creatures and I always associate perfect beauty with a line of cruelty. Their eyes in particular … so gorgeous and impossible to read at the same time. Even the Egyptians thought they had magical powers. I guess there must be many legends about them in your culture too.

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago Reply

    It’s funny you mention their eyes Francesca! My upstairs neighbor has a beautiful cat and we made eye contact the other day and I was mesmerized and also daunted by the look in her eyes and just those gorgeous, mysterious yellow pupils with the slanted pupils. Cats ARE something!
    Interestingly, in my culture, cats are not treated with reverence. With affection, yes, but not deference. Foxes and crows and nightingales and owls and snakes on the other hand … those are rather iconic animals in my culture.
    I wonder how the kitties fare in Italian culture? and serious question, how do cats ‘meow’ in Italian? In Farsi they go: “miu miu” like the Italian fashion label, ha ha!

    Francesca 7 years ago

    Oh gosh! How do they meow? Not the faintest I’m afraid! 🙂 Glad to hear that in Persia even cats are into fashion! 😉

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago

    Wait Francesca, are you telling me you don’t know the Italian equivalent of “meow” … i mean, how do cool Italian cats meow when they meow? ….errr you see what I mean, no? anyway: xoxoxoxoxooxoxox

    Francesca 7 years ago

    Honestly? No! I guess the cats’ meow is more or less the same all over the world. Am I wrong?

    Fig & Quince 7 years ago

    To answer this urgent issue, I turned to Mr. Google and asked “how do cats meow in Italian” and it referred me to this adorable page …—articles/if-the-cat-doesnt-say-meowitalian-animals-language and you are right. the gatto, he just goes “miao” 😀

    Francesca 7 years ago

    Thank goodness! Now I can peacefully go to sleep! 😉

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    Oh I’m delighted! All the best dear Cecilia!

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