Istanbul, The City of Cats

Istanbul, The City of Cats

Last update: 05 May, 2018

Istanbul is a very peculiar city. People who have been there say it is like visiting a permanent flea market. The streets are full of mobile stalls that can practically sell justa about anything. However, this isn’t the only odd thing about this city. There’s something even more strange: Istanbul is the city of cats.

That’s right. This city is full of stray cats. This is only because they live in the street – – because in actuality – – they live like MaharajasIn this article, you can get to know about the peculiar cats who live in Istanbul, the city of cats.

Why is Istanbul known as the city of cats?

Cat sitting on a curb

The locals have always loved animals. They feed and look after the cats.  It is believed there is an unbreakable bond between them.

However, this has also meant that all the time more and more cats come to the city.  All of these felines have learned to come to the city of cats in order to be fed. In fact, that’s without counting all the kittens born in Istanbul.

The cats have become such a city attraction that seeing them is like watching pedestrians crossing or tiles on the ground. It’s completely normal and no resident thinks it’s strange to see hundreds of cats wandering the streets.

As for tourist, this is something that can’t be ignored.  The number of cats is huge. In fact, it’s estimated that the number is around 150,000.

Where did so many cats come from?

Apparently, Istanbul used to be a port city which large merchant ships passed through, cats traveled aboard in order to take care of the rodents. Hundreds of cats ended up staying along with people and never left.

In fact, Istanbul residents have been taking care of animals from way back.  It’s still possible to see cat doors or aviary windows on buildings since the Ottoman era. At the same time, it gives homage to Mohammad’s (a prophet in Islam, Turkey´s main religion) love towards cats.

In the city of cats, the strays are guests

Cats on a dock

In Istanbul, the government determined that they would make specific shelters for them, and particular food installations in the streets. Furthermore, they have an Instagram account where a lot of photos with funny poses or doing fun activities are posted.

However, it’s not just the government who’s took charge for looking after these animals. You can see many people leaving them food and water to make sure they’re OK.

You can see them at store windows, purring at customers in cafes, and following waiters in restaurant terraces. They’re allowed to go anywhere because they are part of the city’s scenery and have won the heart’s of everyone.

Many photographers try to get the best photos of the cats and have found some big surprises. One of them shows that cats are able to get to places where humans can’t. For example, on one occasion a cat was being followed and it squeezed into a hole where the photographer couldn’t fit.

In order to follow take the shot, the photographer went inside a building and saw something he never saw before. Apparently, the cats that live in the city have many secrets to be discovered.

It’s wonderful to know there is a city involved in looking after the well-being of stray animals, making them something special and particular to the country. Bravo Istanbul!


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.