Guest Post: Turkish Delight for Cat Lovers

 Hi everyone,

Today’s guest post comes from Sukanya:

I recently read an article where the author suggested that the city of Istanbul in Turkey should be renamed to ‘Catstantinople’ (a play on the old name of Istanbul- Constantinople). I could relate to why the author had made that suggestion. Almost everywhere you go in the city you can find cats. Cats alone, cats in groups, cats sitting in stores, cats lounging in parks- everywhere you turn there is cat. It is a paradise for cat lovers.

I wonder how the cats managed to find food to eat. I noticed that a lot of kind Turkish people give food to the cats. We were there during the month of Ramadan and I saw one storekeeper who himself was fasting feed a cat with fish. Some cats aren’t so fortunate and have to scrounge around the garbage cans for food. But the majority of Turkish people are tolerant and kind towards the cats.

I saw cats bossing people around in shops, other cats were starved of affection and would come and cuddle up with you at the least invitation.

This phenomenon is not unique only to Istanbul. We found the same situation with the cats in almost every other town we went. We first noticed the cats at the Roman ruins of Ephesus where the cats had successfully managed to convince the guards and archaeologist teams working at the site to feed them.

At Cappadoccia the hotel where we were staying had two dogs. Yet the cats found the time and the space to mingle with the guests.

I tried finding the answer to why Turkey had so many cats on the internet. Some suggested that cats were looked on favourably because of religious reasons but there seemed to be no one particular reason.

Whatever the reason, you can be assured that you will run into at least a few cats if you travel to Turkey. As a cat lover I cannot imagine what can be better.

More at my own blog at

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74 thoughts on “Guest Post: Turkish Delight for Cat Lovers

    • Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thank you so much! It was a pleasant surprise for me when I visited Turkey. I had read all about the monuments and the landmarks but the guidebooks don’t talk about the cats or else I would have visited much sooner!

  1. Pingback: This for you Nia?? Guest Post: Turkish Delight for Cat Lovers | Window With A View

  2. niasunset says:

    So you can understand now why I call myself a cat photographer 🙂 Everyday when I go for my daily walking, I came back with full of cat’s photographs… This is really amazing… In many years ago, during Ottoman Empire time, in the city mouses invaded the city, Istanbul. And the Sultan ordered to find cats… In that time there wasn’t a lot of cats in the city. They brought 500 cats from another city at the Black Sea Coast (Trabzon)… 🙂 Historical anecdote… Thank you, I love cats and cat lovers, love, nia

  3. tatikprice says:

    Love this, it reminds me of Rome’s Largo di Torre Argentina – a cat sanctuary, cats live in the ancient the temple where Julius Caesar was murdered.
    Natalya ? ?

  4. Bipolar1Blog says:

    My husband is Turkish, so I’ve lived in Istanbul for two years and yes there are cats everywhere! There is also a breed of cat in Turkey called Van cats. They are gorgeous long or short hair white cats with one blue eye and one green eye who live near Lake Van and swim!!!

  5. Vive les chats! says:

    Absolutely wonderful! It is so heartwarming to hear and see human compassion at work… My son is currently working in Rome and sent me some wonderful gato pics of a Cat Sanctuary open 365 days. I love Roma for their care and love of cats. It is wonderful to see cats everywhere in the city, even in museums, but I did not know about Catstantinople. Thank you Marc-André for sharing this truly Turkish Delight. You are such a cutie pie!!!!!

    • Sukanya Ramanujan says:

      Thank you! I love Rome and I even have Gatti di Roma calendars. There are so many cats in Turkey and from what I hear from other travelers it is apparently the same in Egypt and Morocoo. Would love to visit those countries one day.

  6. sledpress says:

    It’s good to know that there are this many happy and healthy cats in Turkey. I donate to a rescue called He’Art of Rescue in Turkey, a collaboration with some animal rescuers from other European countries, that works for animals who are not so fortunate. They make the rounds of shelters which are underfunded and not proactive — badly injured animals can lie in shelter cages without intervention. They also receive animal victims of abuse and accidents from good Samaritans or vets. He’Art of Rescue does veterinary surgery and rehabilitation and adopts out the animals, usually elsewhere in Europe.

    I’ve chosen to donate there because I think they can be a model for critical rescue in the whole region. It’s so uplifting when they demonstrate the value of saving an animal, but depressing the condition some animals are found in, so I needed this post to keep my perspective. Beautiful cats!

      • randyjw says:

        And in Israel, too!

        Did I read it here that they’re thinking of killing excesses of stray cats in Australia? Well, that’s a fine thank-you to the cats brought in to help with the over-population of rodents, at one point… So, will there be vermin and rodent over-population once again, upon exterminating the cats?

          • randyjw says:

            That’s good. Maybe they could have a massive adoption campaign, too.

            You know how animals look like their people? And vice-vesa? They also look like the places they come from. The Israeli cats have these little rounded cheeks — so cute! Ha-ha!

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