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Well, the crazy cat lady had another field day.

After my post about the Cats of Dubrovnik, I was happy to find out through the many enthusiastic comments, that one of my next destinations – Istanbul – was equally teeming with felines. And I just couldn’t resist. Despite Brendan’s constant teasing and head-shaking, I did end up spending quite some time using the several thousand dollar photography equipment on cats.

Istanbul was certainly a lot more colorful: cats slept on the brightly patterned carpets, roamed through the vibrant markets and stalked the fishermen down by the sparkling blue waterfront. Each and every one of them was well-fed and taken care of and always happy to receive a good head-scratching. I was glad to see, that another one of my favourite destinations took such good care of our animal friends.

The photos were all shot with the 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens, enjoy!

Cats in Istanbul

Two cats guarding the Topkapi Palace grounds.

Cat in Istanbul

A beautiful kitty lazily observing the shoppers in the turkish delight store across the alley.

Cat in Istanbul

Young cat looking for its siblings at the waterfront.

Cats in Istanbul

Kisses?

Cats in Istanbul

Family of cats at the waterfront, where they have made their home among the rocks.

Cat in Istanbul

Mouse, where are you?

Cat in Istanbul

This happy cat was resting on a carpet, waiting to get fed by adjoining kebab restaurant.

Cat in Istanbul

Happy cat.

Cat in Istanbul

A cat taking a break from stalking the fishermen by getting a nice head-scratch.

Cat in Istanbul

Kitten resting on the comfortable carpets in the Arasta Market.

Cat in Istanbul

Exhibitionist-Cat: This kitty just showed a bit too much…

About The Author

Tiffany is a Swiss travel writer, digital nomad, and photographer, who, after a fateful journey through Africa, has decided to get her passport renewed, sell all her junk, and live out of a suitcase in various corners of the world, as well as share the experiences with other travel enthusiasts. This blog is intended to inspire you to pack your bags, leave everything behind for a while, and make you go discover the world. Check her out on .

24 Responses

  1. Red

    Cat posts. I never fail to click on them ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the cats of Dubrovnik, and now the cats of Istanbul.

    Reply
  2. hilary sable

    a member of my animal rescue group mentioned your blog on the cats of istanbul. each and every one well fed and cared for?! just yesterday we found the body of a kitten who had been beaten to death and then had acid poured on it. animals are thrown into shelters, broken and bleeding, our job here helping the street animals ever ends. the culture here is not to spay or neuter and therefore the cat population is in excess of 250,000, most of whom have to take their chances on the streets, dodging cars and hateful humans. don’t take my word for it, please have a look at our facebook group and decide for yourself whether the pretty pictures you;ve painted are accurate.. maybe you could help us to achieve it.

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      It is horrible to read your story, I saw the same things happening in other countries like Greece, much of Asia and throughout Eastern Africa (where pets aren’t even considered – animals are food or an annoyance). That’s why I was incredibly surprised at how happy the cats in Istanbul looked – especially compared to the horrible abuse I have seen elsewhere. As mentioned in another comment, I have mostly been to the inner city neighbourhoods, so I can’t attest to the situation on the outskirts of Istanbul – but the ones in the inner districts were all well taken care of. If there had been starved and sick cats, I would have written about that issue instead. In muslim countries (and cities), I have often seen animals treated with respect and compassion, maybe because the Quaran strongly suggest it and the prophet loved his cat and would have rather go without his cloak than disturb a cat who’s sleeping on it. So cats do have a special place in islamic culture. Then again, Istanbul doesn’t only consist of muslims… please tell me in what neighbourhoods you have seen the mistreatment of cats, I will be in Istanbul again, and I would like to write about the other side of side of the story as well.

      Reply
  3. Brenda

    Beautiful photos but the reality for the majority of cats here in Turkey is far from the picture you paint. The cat population is out of control and tens of thousands of them struggle to survive with few caring for them when they get injured, blinded due to chronic eye infections, etc. Far too many people have blinders on when looking at the street animals.

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      I was there for a week and travelled around the city quite a bit, and I was really surprised not to see any sick animals and the shop keepers feeding them every day. There were even people going around with plastic bags and cat food, feeding every kitten they happened upon. I was quite touched, since last year I was in Greece, where the situation is just HORRIBLE, lots of them with missing limbs, infections and so on… As a huge cat lover, I’d be the last person to try and paint a false picture of the cats in Istanbul. In what neighbourhood did you see the cats in bad shape? and when where you there? I was mostly around Sultanahmet, Fatih, Beyoglu, รœskรผdar and Kadikรถy – and there wasn’t an unhappy cat in sight. I didn’t venture out into the outer neighbourhoods though, so I can’t say anything about the situation there.

      Reply
  4. hilary sable

    i humbly apologise for my previous comment.. i have now seen that you have posted the comments made by Brenda and myself and i thank you for doing so.

    we would be very pleased to see you when you come back to istanbul, our group in based in cihangir, just behind taksim, however our members are in every part of the city.

    meanwhile, we would welcome you to join the group to get an insight to the everyday problems the animals face here.

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      Itโ€™s alright, thank you for your comment. If I let the comments flow through unmonitored, Iโ€™d get hundreds a day advertising penis enlargements and trying to sell tacky purses. So they do get moderated and have to be approved by me first, but it sometimes takes me a while since I do need to sleep or the internet might be bad (Iโ€™m in Indonesia at the moment). I would really love to meet up with you or someone else from the group who might have time, since Iโ€™ll probably travel through Istanbul again in roughly two months. Iโ€™ll shoot you guys a message on facebook when I know more ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
      • hilary sable

        we’ll be here when you come this way again.. message me and i’ll be pleased to meet up with you.
        meanwhile, have a great trip and take some more beautiful photos.

  5. @KaveEm

    I took a pic of the same Topkapi guard..check my description here

    The cat was very relaxed that it let me come very close to it with my camera, I also found small cat huts around Fatih (Old Istanbul) with the words “Fatih Belediyesi” (i.e. the Municipality) engraved, which indicates governmental support I assume, yet maybe only as a result of animal rights pressure groups similar to Brenda and Hilary’s.

    For the record, most cats (and animals, including the noisy seagulls lol) I saw there have been well-taken care of, except for 1 cat only with one eye injured and infected.

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      That is seriously awesome, I can’t believe you were able to snap a picture of the exact same cat ๐Ÿ™‚ it must be his usual hang-out spot.

      I’m happy to hear that you too saw all cats taken well care of. Whoever takes such good care of them, be it the government, the animal rights groups or just the citizens of Istanbul, I’m incredibly grateful for it.

      Reply
      • @KaveEm

        haha yup his turf (gladly sharing it with a pack of stray dogs, that I kept watching too :))

        Actually I couldn’t believe it at first too, but the fur color is too unique to confuse..I shared your photo with my friend (not a cat lover, but a feline fanatic lol!!) who was with me in Topkapi, and she instantly said “the Topkapi guard” ๐Ÿ˜€ because that’s the name I picked the moment I saw that cat!

        I am looking forward to your photos from Indonesia ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Mohd Zuhaib

    The best animal to shoot, cats! All shots are amazing! Telephoto lens was a perfect choice!

    Reply

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