The proud “owner” of the scooter.
In Finland I wasn’t very much into cats. But on the other hand, I wasn’t a cat hater either, because all animals are important to me as a part of nature. But I still wanted to stay away from cats. Cats – with their claws – were scary, boring and distant loners; they didn’t interest me at all. On the contrary, I got annoyed when they sometimes tried to make acquaintance with me, after all, I was proudly a dog lover. But in Istanbul, anything is possible, so there I became a cat lover
Many companies have their own beloved cats. This is the window of a natural foods store.
The whole of Istanbul loves cats. So does our family. When we went through the hustle and bustle of the city, we were not slowed down by the congestion, but by the fact that every cat on the street needed to be loved – meaning to be taken to your lap, caressed, kissed and asked for the news. And when at home, we placed the dried breadcrumbs on the window ledge for crows and seagulls every evening, I finally became interested in this enthusiastic animal love. And indeed, the Istanbulites love and respect all animals and also beautifully look after them. Even for flying insects, I now find myself speaking politely in the Istanbul way: “please, go out!” And believe it or not, but even insects know languages and they leave!
Is it real? We are in Istanbul, so of course it is! The cafe is named after this particular cat – Incir.
There are two cats in our family: Göl “the Bitch” and Altan. In the beginning, we politely stayed far away from each other, until the former street cat, Altan, fatefully melted my heart. Once, he came to sit on my lap, took a comfortable position and put his head on my heart – and there he was, still and quiet for an hour. Confused as I was, I realized that in this way, he healed my heart, which was broken and tired at the time. Since this memorable moment, Altan has been living in my heart, and we have a very special relationship. Every night when it’s time, Altan asks to come onto my lap and starts an hour of heart healing. Our family calls this by name “love moments”.
“Love moment” with Altan; the cat who took my heart and made me a cat lover.
I am Göl and I guard here. But how realiably?
No one knows the exact number of street cats in Istanbul, but in any case, there are far more than 100.000 cats. You can see them around, not only in the streets and squares, but also in restaurants, shops and even mosques. They are clean, well fed and cared for and always receive a lot of attention. Around Istanbul, you will see tiny wooden houses that people, restaurants and cafes have built as homes for the street cats (and for the street dogs as well). And people feed and pamper cats on the streets, they even take them to the vet if needed.
Mealtime for street cats. They are very well taken cared of.
You can see lots of cat and dog houses in Istanbul which are built for street animals by private persons, companies and sometimes even municipalities.
The Istanbul’s internationally most famous cat is called Tombili. You can find its statue in Ziverbey in Kadıköy. But also in our street you can find the statue of the cat: below you can see sculpture of our cat, Altan, looking at the dog he used to play a lot with. They were best friends. The statue was made for the memory of the dog after he passed away.
The Turkish company Pugedon has introduced in Istanbul a very modern, pet- and eco-friendly idea- the recycling boxes, which release water and food for street dogs and cats, in exchange for plastic bottles. Such machines are located in numerous places throughout Istanbul, improving the quality of life of the street animals. Genius solution – Pugedon won the social responsibility award in 2015!
In addition to being true cat lovers (and lovers of all animals), Istanbulites in general are friendly to all people. Sometimes I´m wondering, do we always treat animals the same way we treat each other?
At home on the left and at work on the right