The cats of Istanbul

 

It’s no secret that Swanson loves cats. He went crazy for the countless kittens of Fez and the strays of Portugal and Spain, but nothing could compare to the well-loved strays of Istanbul.

 

Upon our arrival in the office of our rental apartment’s owners, we were introduced to two cats. The first was their pet, a delicate black and white spotted “cow” cat. The other cat named “Angelico” was their regularly visiting stray, a big orange and white tom. Here’s Swanson’s photo of the cats in the office:

Office cats

Our first clue: Office cats

We soon began collecting evidence that most strays in Istanbul were very well taken care of. All the cats in the city were large and fat, clearly well fed, unlike the scrawny kittens of Fez. Then we started to notice other details: a saucer of milk under our restaurant patio table, random bowls of water wedged behind window bars, trays of cat kibble tucked into doorways. We even saw sidewalk cat houses decked out with comfortable cushions. Cats were not shooed away, but given affectionate pats by passers-by. I watched a guy pull meat out of his doner to feed the cat under his street-side table.

Here are a few portraits, some taken by Swanson, some with Swanson posing with cats.

Cat on the tourist strip

Cat on the tourist strip. In the window behind this beauty is a large grill for cooking Turkish pancakes or gözleme. I’ll bet he’s had a few leftover gözleme in his day.

Swanson petting the cats of Istanbul:

Oh hai.

Oh hai.

If you look closely, you can see the door to a well-built little cat house in background. The door is open and there is a little cushion peeking out.

If you look closely, you can see the door to a well-built little cat house in background. The door is open and there is a little cushion peeking out.

Let me in!

Let me in! After I took this photo, I noticed there was a guy watching TV in his underwear inside. Oops.

Pet me!

Pet me!

Is there a guy in his underwear in there?

Is there a guy in his underwear in there?

Hello, friend.

Hello, friend.

Well-fed outside Topkapi Palace.

Well-fed outside Topkapi Palace.

Blurry cat-house and food.

Blurry cat-house and food.

Cat and bicycle.

Cat and bicycle.

Bikes in Istanbul! We stayed in Beyoğlu, a hip little area full of cafés and antique shops. And bikes.

Bike at antique shop

Bike at antique shop

The same bike at the same antique shop on a different day.

The same bike at the same antique shop on a different day.

Cat on scooter.

Cat on scooter. <3

2 thoughts on “The cats of Istanbul

  1. So many cats! Istanbul has been on my dream list of places to go for a long time… and this just bumped it up a bit 🙂

    It’s wonderful to see that the cats are so well cared for.

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