Kedi is Turkish for cat, and they aren’t at all coy in Istanbul. Although the featured cat sat in a little plot of garden in the cemetery in the Sulemaniye mosque in Istanbul, the words which popped into my mind reminded me of the district of Kadıköy, which is on the other side of the Bosphorus. Köy is Turkish for village, but Kadıköy is not named after cats. The folk etymology is that it means the village of the judge (kadi in Turkish is cognate to the Hindi and Persian kazi). I understand that it is considered more likely that the name comes from the ancient Greek name for the area, Chalcedon. Taking over an older Greek name into Turkish is not unusual, since Istanbul comes from the Greek phrase stim poli (meaning the city) which was used to refer to Constantinople.
We met this cat near Tophane in the Karaköy district of Istanbul. The word hane in Turkish is the cognate of the word khana in Hindi, so Tophane becomes top khana, which is literally, cannon place, and therefore means armoury. It is named after a 15th century factory of cannons and cannonballs, and has not survived until today. The cat must have mistaken us for someone else, since it stood at attention while we walked past. “Do we need to salute him?” The Family asked. It wasn’t necessary. It is a singular honour for a cat to give you a standing ovation, so I took a photo.