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Alley Cats of Istanbul

Updated on November 27, 2016

Cats That Live in The Streets

Cats are my favorite animal. While I grew up, my grandfather who lived in a house with a large garden , had cats and I used to play with them. Although I wanted to have a cat ,as I have lived in apartments I couldn't own a pet,

As I don't own a cat, I feed and play with the alley cats. In Turkey a lot of cats live in the streets and people feed them. Surviving in the streets is hard, many people in Turkey try to help these homeless animals, and many tolerate animals on streets.

Street cats are very clever, have strong surviving instincts. they know how to survive in the big city. Usually they become friendly with shop owners and find a shelter in the shops. For example according to my observations second hand books sellers like and feed them. Also, many cats wait patiently near the fishermen, the butcher shops, the restaurants. Usually they get their reward for waiting, fish heads, pieces of meat, uneaten food always are given to them.

I like to observe and photography the alley cats. In my lens I am sharing with you those photographs and information about the Alley Cats of Istanbul.

Free Roaming Cats and Dogs

In my country street animals like free-roaming dogs and cats are considered as a part of life. Free-roaming cats & dogs have been documented in Istanbul for several hundred years at least, perhaps longer.Loved and protected by a few, tolerated by many and hated by some tens of thousands of them roam the streets. No one knows how many street cats and dogs there are in Turkey. The Turkish government passed a law a few years ago requiring cities to control the roaming dogs. The dogs are now taken to shelters, We Turks are very much against euthanasia of dogs and cats for "population control". In Turkey we try trap-spay/neuter-vaccinate/treat and release. Free-roaming dogs are picked up off the streets and taken to local shelters where they are spayed or neutered, vaccinated for rabies and other diseases, treated for minor illnesses, ear-tagged for identification, and then released back to the neighborhood where they were trapped

As cats are more clean than dogs, smaller and cause less problem, they can live more free on the streets compared to dogs. People tolerate cats more than dogs too.

The picture above shows a common campaign, in summer people are asked to give water to street animals.

Books sellers and Cats

Cats & Book sellers

In Istanbul there are many second hand book sellers. I have observed that those people like street cats very much, feed them. Let them sleep in their shops among books.

Both sides benefit from this friendship, cats find food, love, shelter. Bookseller get rid of rodents as rats can smell a cat and leave than area.

Note: I took this picture in a secondhand book store in Taksim/Istanbul

Alley Cats & Children

Children like to be friends with cats. They feed the street cats, cuddle them.

I took this picture in a historic & poor district of Istanbul, Balat.

A small child feed the cat on the street from his window...

Poem with a Tail - About an Alley Cat

POEM WITH A TAIL

We can't be seen together.
Our paths are separate.
You belong to the butcher.
I'm just an alley cat.
You eat off a metal plate,
I from the lion's mouth.
You dream of love.
I dream of dinner.

But your path isn't easy either, pal.
No, it's not easy
to wag a tail
all and every
godforsaken day.

Orhan Veli Kanik ( a famoust Turkish poet)

Fishermen feed the alley cats

Every fisherman feed cats

In Istanbul there are many fishermen, fresh fish are commonly sold in small trays, open shops near fishermen boats.

Usually the customers want the fish seller to clean the fish. Fish are cleaned and the unwanted parts, heads are given to street cats. Sometimes very small fish are also given to cats. Near fishermen there usually are many cats.

This is a picture I took many years ago, cats having a feast with leftovers.

5 stars for cats

What Do You Think About Street Cats?

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    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 4 years ago from Istanbul

      @victoriahaneveer: Thanks:)))

    • victoriahaneveer profile image

      victoriahaneveer 4 years ago

      Loved reading this. I adore all cats.

    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 4 years ago from Istanbul

      @junecampbell: Thanks. I like animals and have a special love for Alley cats.

    • junecampbell profile image

      June Campbell 4 years ago from North Vancouver, BC, Canada

      I love animals and hope the alley cats live and thrive in their environment. I love the poem Alley Cats that you published here.

    • cgbroome profile image

      cgbroome 5 years ago

      I wished all cats had a loving home. They need our love and protection but I'm always thankful to those who help out those animals who are homeless. Nice lens.

    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @addiej: thanks:)

    • addiej profile image

      Addie Johnson 5 years ago

      Awesome lens idea -- love the pictures. I've always admired cats. :)

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 5 years ago

      What a fantastic idea for a lens! I love your photos. I can't help thinking of Andrew Lloyd Webber's song O'Malley the Alley Cat!

    • chrisssy profile image

      chrisssy 5 years ago

      You'd be surprised how many of these "street cats" actually have homes. I had a friend who had an outdoor cat. It got fed and went home whenever it wanted, but when it was out it roamed around to other houses or businesses and got fed and taken care of by them, too. I usually advise people not to take a cat that just seems helpless and on the street because you never know when you could be taking somebody's pet

    • MelonyVaughan profile image

      MelonyVaughan 5 years ago

      I think they have to be approached with caution as they are more or less wild animals. My dad and I have taken quite a few 'stray' cats into our care over the years and we loved them all!

    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @anonymous: sorry to hear:(

    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @ItayaLightbourne: thanks

    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @Franksterk: Thanks. Your efforts interested me a lot. I hope more people will like and protect Alley cats in your community. Best regards...

    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @PBJasen: thanks..

    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @charlb: Sometimes poisoning is seen here too but slowly things are getting better.

      Thanks for your interest in my article..

    • Franksterk profile image

      Frankie Kangas 5 years ago from California

      I wish street cat were accepted as well in America where they are called feral cats. We are constantly fighting the battle to save these cats. In the US we have a national organization called Alley Cat Allies who try to help these cats through education and supporting local groups who save these cats. In my community we try to save local cats who do not have homes and find homes for those that we can socialize and farm homes or leave them in their feral colonies with caregivers to take care of them. We practice TNR (trap, neuter, return). I have a rescue for FIV cats and have a lens about feral cats and TNR and my FIV Cat Rescue if you are interested in more. Thank you for sharing. Blessed. Bear hugs, Frankster

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 5 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Amazing story! I had no idea. Thank you for sharing! :)

    • PBJasen profile image

      PBJasen 5 years ago

      Nice bond between people of Istanbul and cats of Istanbul :)

    • charlb profile image

      charlb 5 years ago

      A very interesting article. I think its commendable the way your country is dealing with stray animals. Unfortunately, here in Cyprus there are numerous incidents of poisoning on the streets so I do not think the streets are safe for strays.

    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @IngridA1: Thanks. We are trying but there is lot more to do...

    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @Country-Sunshine: Thanks:)

    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @Einar A: Thanks. I think all over the world cats find home in used books stores..

    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @micheleburke: Thanks:)

    • Scriber1 LM profile image

      Scriber1 LM 5 years ago

      This is a really interesting lens and I especially loved the photographs and stories of the ways your town cares for these cats.

    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @Scriber1 LM: thanks:)

    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @mbgphoto: That is one of my best photos. Thanks:))

    • IngridA1 profile image

      IngridA1 5 years ago

      Wonderful article!! It's great to see a country that cherishes and cares for it's stray animals. Thank you for opening my eyes on how America could change how we take care of the stray population for the better!

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 5 years ago from Texas

      I really enjoyed your article, and the pictures are so great! Other countries should learn from the efforts of yours.

    • Einar A profile image

      Einar A 5 years ago

      This is a very interesting article. I, too, really liked your photo of the cat in the bookseller's shop! There are two cats living at my local used bookstore, and I always like visiting with them while there browsing through the books.

    • micheleburke profile image

      Michele Marie Burke 5 years ago

      Very informative lens. Loved the cat napping on the books. Thanks for your efforts.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 5 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      This was an interesting story. I really like the photo you captured of the cat at the booksellers laying on top of the books.

    • bibliopola profile image
      Author

      Işın Tuzcular 5 years ago from Istanbul

      @BuckHawkcenter: We are trying but there are still many problems. Yesterday my husband and his friends from cycle group visited 2 animal shelters and donated food, materials to shelters. They told me that me that there were many abandoned good bred dogs there. It is so sad:((

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 5 years ago

      As an animal rescuer, I applaud the people of Turkey for taking care of these animals. The world is full of free-roaming domesticated animals and most places just try to get rid of them. It's refreshing to see a whole population caring for them.