Meowday

Istanbul is cat city. In 2017 there were 125,000 cats in the streets of Istanbul. I wonder whether the featured cat from Hagia Sophia counts as a street cat. It was proud of being a museum cat, and disdained all tourists. The three in the photo below were not inside a building, so I guess they would certainly count among the 125,000. Unless there are more by now. They are proud street cats, and would not spare a second glance at someone who had no food for them.

There were no signs of the packs of dogs, which, according to Orhan Pamuk, were “mentioned by every Western traveller to pass through Istanbul during the nineteenth century, from Lamartine and Nerval to Mark Twain”, and which “continue to bring drama to the city’s streets.” Instead, there are the cats, bringing a regal touch to the everyday lives of Istanbullus.

The street cats are not the thin uncared-for foragers which you see in Indian cities. Someone has laid out a pallet for this one to sun itself on. Elsewhere, after I took a photo of a cat walking along a wall, a passerby affectionately rubbed its fur, eliciting a purr in response. Istanbul lives at peace with its cats.