People journey from distant lands to stand in awe of Hagia Sofia, feel spiritual in the Blue Mosque and drift down the Bosphorus at sunset. And yet, despite these man made and natural wonders waiting them in Turkey, the real stars of the show can be a lot smaller. And a lot furrier. And they are the theme of Street Cats of Istanbul, where I post daily photos of local street cats from all over the city.
Turkish stray cats are very liberal
I started this project back in 2013 as a way of exhibiting the dozens of cat photos I had collected over my years here. Cats and the Internet is a match made in heaven, so popularity grew quickly and so did the demand for a wider variety of pictures. I already loved exploring Istanbul, but having this daily mission encourages me even more so to go out as often as I can for long walks with a camera in hand. It has reached a point where my friends and family are pointing out cats here or there and they’ve become used to moments where I randomly stop and take a set of photos.
You can't expect a stray cat to study all day, right?
There are the occasional periods of time where I’m not able to be out and photographing. There are even the rare instances where, despite looking high and low, nary a cat can be found. In those instances I will post a photo of some of the neighborhood cats I can always rely on. They are characters, like the manav (produce stand) cat protects the fruits and veggies. There is a long-haired, ginger, that is an endearing favorite, whose massive size makes us wonder if he’s part lion. A pure white, potentially Van cat, who lives inside a meyhane and is often spotted with the large, orange cat.
Street cats are very serious about their diet
I suppose I would like to think of it as a niche form of photographic storytelling about Istanbul. Cats are really a part of Istanbul’s fabric. There are the people who may find them to be a nuisance, but they’re iconic to the city like the ferries and simit. A café is incomplete without a feline resident and it seems that more often than not people enjoy having them around. Food and water being left out, old blankets laid in windowsills and having one keep you company while waiting for the bus.
Nostalgia tends to make them sleepier
Life is not always so easy for them, so this blog was also made with the intention of raising awareness of adoption. These street saavy beasts would all love nothing more than a warm bed at night and a bowl full of food. Our two cats were rescued off the streets in Gümüşsuyu and make occasional appearances as well. They show that cats, who may not have a pedigree or folded ears, can also make loving pets that are worthy of a loving home just as much.
This one works at the grocery store
These guys don't like to be woken up for photo shoots
Do I smell chicken?
The next time you’re out in Istanbul you may spot a familiar face from this blog. And if you do, please give them a scratch behind the ears for me.
They also have good parking skills
Tired? Ride the metro
They have their spiritual moments
They love sharing lunch (yours) with you
They can pretend to be a nightdress for a 5 min. extra nap
They don't text and drive, so that you can feel safe
Cleanliness is a must
They can be demanding sometimes
They are the species that rule Istanbul, not you
Like mother, like daughter
It takes a lot of wisdom and experience to feed a gang of Turkish stray cats
Streets of Galata is one of their best hides in the city
I guess I'm taking the day off today
Being a cat is a serious business
They love hanging out at book stores
This one is not an easy customer
Salute the most Turkish cat of all times
Follow Street Cats of Istanbul for a daily dosage of cat photos from Istanbul.