13 Comments

Beautiful article with fantastic photos.

When we lived in Izmir 20+ years ago, the situation of stray cats and dogs was very different. In general, they were not taken care of and not even liked. I have never seen as many adults who were afraid of dogs (even the smallest ones) or unfriendly towards any type of stray animal. At the same time, there were always Turks who loved animals, but the overall sentiment was different years ago.

I am so happy that this seems to have changed a lot over time. After all, there is the great butcher, Ikram Korkmazer, who lets cats come into his store and gives them whatever meat he things they want...after pretending he has a conversation with them. Have you seen the videos? He also feeds dogs. What an awesome human being. Here is a link to the many articles about him https://www.loveiscats.com/a-butcher-gives-meat-to-stray-cats-and-dogs-coming-by-his-shop/

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Well, that was quite fine.

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We lived in Beyoglu for two months last year. Like you, I fell in love with the cats. Almost every morning, I wandered up and down the hills of Beyoglu, down to Karaköy, then across the Galata Bridge, and up into Eminönü, all the while taking pictures.

I, too, noticed the dogs, but they almost seemed sad to me. They were fed and never abused but unlike the cats, it seemed like they were almost always ignored and that made me sad.

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Thank you for another interesting post! I will probably never visit Istanbul :(. If you want to visit that part of the world again, maybe you can check out Yerevan, Armenia and Tbilisi, Georgia. Both of those places have quite some character and will be interesting for someone who loves walks.

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Thank you for this beautiful much needed pause from the pain in the world. Your words snd pix are so good.

And there are two documentaries, one about cats and another about the dogs of Istanbul.

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I don't know if this is sharable... but I hope it is. I want to share it with my son and his SO. We have so little comforting news from overseas and knowing about a community's love for their domestic animal... community vagrants is heartening. On an unrelated note to animals, but to the tone of this post, today I listened to an interview on WRVO (a PBS radio station) with the founder of "Mary's List" - an organization that has given children awareness of the refugee children in their classes and communities and educated them on their history, concerns, situation... and helped to provide kids and their families ways to make them feel welcome and respond as a community. Almost everyone can identify as being a newcomer, an outsider to a new place. Being an ambassador for good will and welcome for those who have suffered trauma and displacement is a privilege and ... I think, a duty of citizens and persons no matter what faith.

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Mar 11, 2022Liked by Chris Arnade

I think this is a Mediterranean thing. Once upon a happier time, Beirut offered this kind of welcoming environment to cats. And the cities along the Adriatic coast, like Dubrovnik and Kotor in Montenegro also are full of basking cats. Such violent places; so many cats ... Sigh.

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Sultan Baibars, who was a right bastard IRL, also founded a waqf (Islamic charity) to operate a cat garden in Cairo.

It operates to this day.

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Chris, all your stuff is excellent, but this is magisterial, we will all appreciate more like this if you are ever moved to do it :)

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I have been a cat lover all my life. Ran my own feral rescue program- catch/neuter/release. Things are much meaner here in the States and there is much FIV in many cities. Terrible for cats. Only recently I have also become a dog lover. When I hit the lottery I am going to buy land in the country and rescue every one of them I can get my hands on. And when I pass, if there is a Heaven it will be just like that. Shally

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THanks. I needed a break from the awful stuff RIGHT NOW.

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Awesome!

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Thank you for adding a little lightness to our current struggles in the dark...animals always seem to do that. I so look forward to your photo essays, I've learned so much from them.

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