Anybody who’s been, lives in, or will be visiting Istanbul, Turkey, is sure to know about its resident cats. They are everywhere in neighborhoods in various configurations – draped over car roofs napping, sleeping in small homes outside of apartments, or living in city’s most popular tourist site. (With a very popular Instagram account I might add.)
It’s estimated there are over 130,000 Felis catus in Istanbul but why? You can watch the introduction to Istanbul’s cats in the video here or read on.
Cats in the busiest parts of Istanbul have an outdoor but relatively good life. Neighborhood cats are often fed by the humans living around them who leave food out in bowls. Local cats may even get there own little cat houses usually at the food of apartment entrances for shelter.
In many ways, the cats seem to own the city. They meander in and out of shops, sleeping where they choose, even if its a busy escalator. Watch out hoomans! One particularly popular chubby feline even got a statue built in her honor after passing away in 2016.
Most of the cats are friendly particularly in the parks where they’re fed by city workers. Don’t have a cat but wouldn’t mind hanging out and petting one – many of the cats will appreciate your extra attention. As Legal Nomads noticed on her visit,
The truth is, of course, that there are many cats Turkey and Istanbul was awash in cats also. Many were well-fed and clean, and almost all were affectionate. To be sure, the cats slimmed down and dirtied-up when I walked outside the busier zones of the city into the immigrant areas – parts of Fatih, for example. In those laundry-strewn, narrow streets the cats were more feral, more hungry and certainly less curious. But one constant remained: there were cats everywhere.
I’ve focused a lot on the cats but there nearly as many stray dogs as well. They too are fed in parks with ear tags indicating they’ve had their shots and are spayed or neutered. For cats, a small cut in the ear means the same.
Paws To Agree On
Getting a majority of people or politicians to agree on many things in a city of 15 million isn’t easy except when it comes to Istanbul’s cats. A pretty adorable part of Istanbul for a long time, these street cats have done what many indoor cats do, simply endeared themselves to their human pets.