Cats from Istanbul {Turkey} - Traveling Cats - Travel Pictures of Cats

Cats from Istanbul {Turkey}

rainbow steps istanbul

This is a guest post by Jessica Norah from Independent Travel Cats

I have been fortunate to be able to travel frequently as a travel writer and I love seeing cats in all the places I visit. Istanbul definitely stands out as a city with lots of cat memories for me. Cats are everywhere in Turkey, and Istanbul, as the country’s largest city, is filled with cats. In fact, it has been jokingly called Catstantinople (a play on the city’s former name of Constantinople).

cats of istanbul

The vast majority of cats in Istanbul are not pets or housecats, but they are not exactly uncared for strays either. Many people in the local community take care of the street cats. We frequently came across bowls and pots full of water and food as we wandered around the city, set out by people to feed the local cats. Some people also set up boxes for the cats to sleep in and some mosques have even been opened for cats to spend the night during the cold winter months. (Sadly the stray dogs of Istanbul do not seem nearly as well cared for compared to the cats.)

cats turkey
cats of istanbul

Why are the stray cats looked after? Turkey is today a predominately Muslim country and it is believed by many Muslims that cats should be respected and taken care of and not hurt. For example, there is a story that the prophet Muhammad found a cat had settled on the sleeve of his robe and instead of disturbing the cat, he tore that part of his robe off. Religion aside, there is also a tradition of caring for the cats of Istanbul that is passed from parents to children who continue to put out food and water for the local felines. Of course, not all people in Istanbul (Muslim or not) care for the cats and life as a stray cat in a city is still a pretty rough life. The life expectancy of a stray cat is significantly less than a domestic cat kept as a pet; however, many of the cats of Istanbul are able to survive due to the generosity of its people. A recent documentary, Kedi, is a good one to watch to learn more and see the cats of Istanbul.

cats of istanbul
cats of istanbul
cats of istanbul
cats of istanbul

The cats can be found in every part of Istanbul. You’ll find them enjoying the sun along the river, cuddled up in boxes, dumpster diving, fighting, playing, and sneaking around under the market stalls in this large and chaotic city. One kitty even lives in one of the world’s most famous mosques (Gil of the Hagia Sophia). Some of the cats were friendly and affectionate – bounding up the stairs for pets and hopes of food, and others were quite skittish and kept away. Sitting down at an outdoor cafĂ© and restraint and ordering a meat or fish dish is almost a surefire way to attract a street cat with begging eyes. The cats are a variety of breeds, shapes, and colors, their ancestors likely having arrived from all over the world into the city’s port as sailors would traditionally keep cats on their ships to kill the rodents.

We have visited Istanbul twice so far and both times have enjoyed seeing and photographing the feline residents! We definitely recommend taking the time to look out for the cats if you are in Istanbul.

cuddling cats

Jessica Norah is a full-time travel blogger at Independent Travel Cats who currently lives in Edinburgh Scotland with his husband Laurence. Sadly she had to leave her own two cats (Dodger and Dash) in the U.S. when she moved to the UK, but she goes back to visit them as much as she can, and adopts kitty friends throughout her travels around the world.

cats of istanbul
cats of istanbul
istanbul colored stairs

21 comments:

  1. I am feeling jealous of you right now! Its so amazing seeing these wonderful cats from Istanbul! You are so lucky ! In my country, Bangladesh, there are many types of cats too! Though most of them are stray cats, communities are forming up to help these cats! We also have many large communities for cat adoption and shelter. I hope you can pay a visit to our country some day!

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    1. Hi Maunaseer, Glad you liked our photos and we are lucky to be able to travel so much and see kitties around the world. Would love to come to Bangladesh someday ;-)

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  2. aw......waves two everee one frum de land oh trout; we R happee ta lurn ewe R all well looked afturr....N hope full lee de dawgz are//will bee two ~~~~ ♥♥♥

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  3. So nice to hear how a whole country loves an animal and these pictures show how well they actually look. I wish the dogs got the same treatment

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    1. Hi Birgit, Yes, on average, the cats are well taken care of for strays. The dogs yes did not look like received the same care as cats although given they are much bigger so they need a lot more food.

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  4. I do want to watch Kedi. Just need a little more distance from losing Rocko.

    I think it's wonderful most people take care of the cats. If I found a friendly one, it would likely come inside to stay.

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  5. They look like they are eating well. They are all so beautiful.

    Emma and Buster

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  6. Beautiful cats, it breaks my heart that they don't have homes though.

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  7. Even though the cats are cared for, it's sad are they'll never know the love and comforts of a real home.

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  8. I am glad to know the cats are cared for. Are they spayed or neutered? I have a hard time thinking they are allowed to continue to have kittens and the cycle isn't broken. But that is just me.

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  9. It's always fun checking out your international cats. Good to know they are cared for. #FridayFrivolity

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  10. Istanbul is a cat friendly city. Check out Dr. Plotnick's vacation there a few years ago. He has a lot of photos of friendly city cats. http://catexpert.blogspot.com/2011/10/my-stray-cat-expedition-in-istanbul.html

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  11. It's lovely that these cats are well looked after. You can see it - they look like healthy street cats! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

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  12. Ah, what lovely cats. Thank you for sharing them with us.

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  13. Mommy always looks for cats and dogs when she is on vacation. She meet some very nice ones the last time she was in San Diego.

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  14. They are all so priceless! Love them!

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  15. The first cat reminds me of my kitty, Louie. When we got him, I thought his coloration was so unusual, but I see possible cousins pictured all over the world!
    Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2017/06/my-happy-place.html

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  16. Beautiful cats in Istanbul. So wonderful to hear that they treat their strays well. I wish everyone in the United States could do that. They definitely look much more healthy than most strays.

    Thanks for linking up with Cat Thursday again!

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