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Alley Cats of Istanbul
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
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.