The City of Reykjavík spent a total of 4.4 million ISK on a large LED Christmas Cat (Jólakötturinn) on Lækjartorg Square, according to Vísir. The city told the website that the it will cost significantly less next year.
The five metre high, six metre long cat was turned on Saturday. It is a project of the city, the Austrian company MK Illumination, and the company Garðlistar. The Austrian firm designed and built the cat, Garðljistar owns the cat, and the city rents it from them. The lease is 3.4 million a year, with the extra million this year due to installation features that can be reused in the future. The cat has already garnered a lot of attention and will be part of the city’s Christmas activities.
Socialist Party councilmember Sanna Magdelena Mörtudóttir criticised the city’s priorities in a Facebook post that has been liked over 400 times. She referenced the folklore of the cat, which according to legend eats children that do not get new clothes before Christmas EVE. Sanna pointed out that poverty deprives children of new clothes and, as the city is the country’s largest employer of minimum wage workers, many children could get new clothes by the city raising their parents’ salaries.
Reykjavík is full of much friendlier cats anyway.