Cats of Istanbul: Exploring the Feline Wonders in the Heart of Turkey

If you are a cat lover and have a travel plan, then Istanbul is the perfect destination for you! The cats of Istanbul have become a cultural phenomenon. From movies and series to social media, these felines can capture the hearts of millions. Join us to explore the fascinating world of Istanbul’s cats and discover the unique charm they bring to this vibrant city.

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The Cats of Istanbul: A Cultural Phenomenon

Istanbul is a city that combines history and culture with a population of street-savvy feline friends. These furry creatures have become an integral part of Turkish society and their presence can be tracked everywhere. From movies and series to social media, you can track the cat’s influence. In Turkish culture, cats hold a special place. They believe cat brings good luck and are considered holy. Whether it’s a street cat wandering the bustling streets or a pet in a luxurious home, cats are loved. “Kedi” is one of the most popular cat-centric documentaries that takes an intimate look at the lives of the city’s cat inhabitants. Besides documentaries movies like “Searching for a Cat in Istanbul” and animated series like “Bad Cat Şerafettin” Istanbul’s cats are celebrated.

Thanks to social media, Istanbul’s cats have gained new fame—hashtags like #istanbulcats and #catsofistanbul attracting thousands of followers. One of the most famous cats that has a very popular Instagram page with more than 177K followers is Gli. She has also her own Wikipedia page and plays a vital role in raising awareness about the street animals of Istanbul. Istanbul’s cats have captured the hearts of people around the world. Therefore, if you find yourself in Istanbul, be sure to watch out for these furry celebrities. 

The History Behind Istanbul’s Cats

The history of cats in Istanbul is a long time. Cats have been living in the city for centuries, and they have been revered and protected by its people for just as long. There are a few reasons why cats are so special to the people of Istanbul. First, they are seen as symbols of good luck and prosperity. In Turkish culture, cats are often associated with the prophet Muhammad, who had a cat named Muezza. According to legend, Muezza saved Muhammad from a snake bite, and in gratitude, the prophet is said to have stroked her fur so much that she fell asleep. Muhammad then cut off a piece of his sleeve to not wake his cat when he removed it.

Second, cats help to keep the city free from rats and mice. In the past, when Istanbul was a major port city, rats and mice were a major problem. Cats helped to control the rat population and prevent the expanded serious diseases.

Third, cats are simply beloved by the people of Istanbul. They are gentle creatures who bring joy and relaxation. 

Exploring Istanbul’s Cat Hotspots

Istanbul is not famous only for its stunning landmarks but also for its cats. Let’s take a closer look at the cat hotspots in this bustling city. Foremost, we have the neighborhoods of the Çihangirand Moda. Legend says this area became home to cats from all around the world. When seaman traveling on ships would bring cats and keep some of them at the dock of Çihangir. Now they rule the roost in Çihangir, lounging around and annoying seagulls and crows.

If you want to witness street cats in their “natural habitat” check Maçka, Göztepe, and Fenerbahçe parks. When you stroll in these parks you suddenly find yourself among cats in all shapes, colors, sizes, and attitudes. 

The Unspoken Rule in Istanbul

One of the main reasons why there are so many cats living in Istanbul is that many people feed them or provide shelter. Also, there are a lot of gardens and parks where people bring food and water for cats. There is a unique and unspoken promise, the people of Istanbul view the cats as belonging to everyone and no one at the same time. This ensures that the cats have their independence and freedom, otherwise ensures that they have food, shelter, and water whenever they need it.  

As a result of this manner, the cats of Istanbul are often friendly and calm. Istanbul Municipality has several programs in place to help cats. These include providing food and water stations for stray cats, spay and neuter programs to control the cat population, building shelters for cats in need, and working with volunteers to trap, neuter, and release stray cats.

The Municipality of Istanbul also has several laws in place to protect cats, such as a ban on arming or abandoning cats.

The Unique Personalities of Istanbul Cats

In Istanbul, a bustling city, filled with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. People rush from place to place, and there are thousands of tourists seeking every corner of the city. And in the middle of all this huge mess, they are calm observers of the chaos that surrounds them. Yes, we are talking about the cats of Istanbul. These creatures master the art of indifference. They just roost themselves on the pavements, soaking in the sights and sounds of the city.

They watch, they observe, and occasionally, they let out a lazy scratch or a calculated blink of an eye while the rest of us hurry with our heads buried in our phones or lost in our thoughts. Furthermore, they have learned to adapt to the urban jungle and find shelter and hidden paths. These creatures are the unofficial ambassadors of Istanbul, captivating everyone’s likes and attention.

The cats of Istanbul are not just ordinary stray animals, they become a cultural phenomenon in the heart of Turkey. Istanbul is a paradise for all cat lovers, and cats have captured the hearts of both locals and tourists alike. Although these animals face challenges every day, they update themselves by living in Istanbul, and people and the government protect them in all aspects. So next time you visit Istanbul, do not forget to visit the feline wonders that roam the streets and capture the essence of this magnificent city.