Sunday, August 19, 2018
Istanbul Kedisi - Cats of Istanbul
Istanbul is the city of cats - there are cats everywhere. Yes, they are stray cats, but everybody seem to love them. They are well fed, look good (most of them anyway) and as typical cats ignore all the people around them (except when they offer food to them). They're certainly not hop-on-your-lap-and-pet-me cats, but even though the city population loves them.
The Hagia Sophia is a popular hang-out spot; while I didn't see any cats in the Blue Mosque I have seen many photos of cats there and am convinced that they like to go there as well. Lots of shady spots during the hot sunny days.
We had so much fun watching this cat while we were sitting in our favorite street café, enjoying some ice coffee. This cat took interest in this moped, first hopped on it, inspected it until it jumped up onto the seat, trying its claws on it and finally settled down. It stayed there until the owner of the moped claimed it which the cat thought was rather impertinent. The moped driver was very gentle and kind with her.
A few days later when we were at the same café a cat (perhaps the same one?) was lying in the street, taking a nap. It wouldn't move and people would just drive around it - this is something we noticed all the time: drivers stop for cats and dogs or maneuver around them. I liked that.
Wherever we went we would find little piles of dried cat food, water bowls on a sidewalk. Some restaurants collect tips to pay for veterinary bills. It was heart warming to see how well these animals are looked after and how much they are loved.
There are also a lot of stray dogs that are just as well looked after and loved. And the really interesting thing was that we never saw any dog poop! (On a side note, we saw very little trash in the city anyway. Istanbul is a very clean city.)
The cats are simply everywhere - this one was taking a nap right in front of a shop window in the Arasta Bazaar.
They sit on the ticket counter in the train station...
... and hang out in the gardens of mosques.
While walking the streets we saw them everywhere, especially in the quieter neighborhoods.
Of course they're in the parks as well.
Cats have been in Istanbul forever. There even is a movie about the cats of Istanbul called "Kedi" ("cat" in Turkish) that I have yet to watch. You can find Facebook groups about them and even yours truly has a Pinterest board about the Istanbul kedisi.
"While dogs think people are God, cats don't. They just know better." Quote from "Kedi".