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Istanbul is such a big city that it is hard for me to even think of it as a city and not as a state, and I think that no matter how many times I go there I will always find something new and amazing.
This trip was the second time I went to Istanbul, with a time difference of 5 years and with a friend for whom this was a third time 🙂
It seems that Istanbul has a special lure that keeps you coming back again and again. And at the end of this trip, we both agreed that we will surely come back one more time!
The thing that I missed noticing the last time was how cat-friendly Istanbul is! And may I add not just to cats but to dogs and even fish. When we were walking the Uskudar dock there were many fishermen and many of them threw the fish they caught back to the sea, which totally warmed my heart.
I am especially surprised by this discovery as the Turks were great conquerors in the past and I always considered Turkish people cruel and cold. But this is in the past and today, after many watched Turkish dramas and my visits to Istanbul, I think that Turkish people are generally very nice and, if I may say so – people with warm souls.
There is a saying that when you go to a place and you see that its local cats are relaxed, laying around without fear, you can expect that the people living there are good at heart. And I believe this is true.
This I can conclude based upon the city where I live and where people are absolutely mean to all kinds of animals. They chase away street cats and dogs in the most vicious ways that I don’t want to describe in detail. So for me, it is a great contrast compared to Istanbul where you can see cats walking freely or sunbathing almost everywhere. And that is the reason I really love Istanbul, it has totally bought me with its cat-friendly culture.
This is even more amazing when you realize just how many different nations and cultures mix in Istanbul on a daily basis, and all people respect the cats there, it has even become a world-famous phenomenon known as the “Cats of Istanbul”.
I’ve heard that Hagia Sophia has a cat living and hanging around there, I did not see it but you can take a look at it here.
As with my previous visit, this was also a very short trip that was overbooked with many places to go to, so I was overwhelmed and I, unfortunately, did not get to take too many photos of cats. This is something I regret, but I hope there will be a next time when I focus more on this cat phenomenon in Istanbul.
So here is a picture I took near the “Seven Hills Restaurant” which is located near the main square and I highly recommend you go to its rooftop as it has a spectacular view of the Blue Mosque. While drinking coffee there, I truly felt like in a fairytale with kings, princesses and castles – although real life is very different but still, for a moment it was like in a Disney movie.
So here is this cat roaming the center of Istanul, it looks a bit sad and a bit dirty but you can still see it has been well fed and I feel that it is leading a good life – it even has a lovely collar with a pendant that matches its fur:
Isn’t it amazing how cats look so royal and gracious in every circumstance? They are such beautiful and elegant creatures.
I assure you that this situation of a cat sitting peacefully on top of a car in one of the busiest areas of Istanbul is a specific mark of this city, in my hometown such a sight is impossible to encounter.
The Dolmabahce palace is a place you absolutely must visit in Istanbul, it is a breathtaking sight of a modern royal building in all its glory and wealth, and the surrounding park is so peaceful and beautiful. My favorite part is the sea view in the park, with the amazing white fence. I just can’t get enough of it every time.
I took a walk along the shore, thinking how lucky I am to experience this and check what I saw in front of one of the palace entrances:
A man was feeding it and this sight really touched me. No one in Istanbul is acting like cats will ruin the view or scare off the tourists, even in such luxurious places as the Dolmabahce palace.
Here are some white stone statues of big cats from the park there:
Another perfect place to visit was the Pierre Lotti Hill with its stunning view and amazing peace. You reach the top of the hill by a cable car and this is where the cats were 🙂
The cable car top station was full of cats, there was a little family with cute kittens nursing right underneath the cable cars as they were arriving at the final stop, they were so calm and just without fear. I searched for a photo of them and unfortunately, I did not capture them, BUT I did get this shot:
Cats are so absolutely feeling at home here! Sleeping with no fear, feeling safe and you can see how people turn around to check them – all of the people are watching the cat on the floor, it’s such an attraction 🙂 So entertaining and simply wonderful!
Finally here is my impulse buying of a bag with printed cats, I totally didn’t plan or needed a bag but the printed cats caught my eye and heart:
It’s a nice, quality bag, I haven’t figured out yet what to use it for, but I have zero regrets about buying it, the minimum it can be my souvenir from Istanbul 🙂
To be honest I thought I did not have enough pictures to put in this post, as I was so busy running around Istanbul trying to see as much as I can, but when you are a cat lover I guess you just naturally take pictures of cats everywhere. I just wish I did it more on purpose, I am sure I would have had truly great ones, but I am quite satisfied even with these that I have. I can say that these are really spontaneous taken pictures of the cats in Istanbul.
I felt so good writing this post and seeing these pictures, it made me re-live the few amazing days of my visit to Istanbul. For me, these are the days of my life that make my best memories, so few but so significant, as if life is so condensed in a bubble of just 4 short days that it wants to burst with all its beauty, intense emotions, and glory.
Finding out about the love and care of the Turkish people towards cats just made the trip much more unforgettable and enjoyable. If you are ever in a position to go to Istanbul, as a cat lover I warmly recommend it!
Coming home to my sweet fur love is the best feeling in the world, we always cuddle each other long, so happy that we have found “us” again and life goes on in its normal routine:
And I just became aware that my cat is the “Turkish Van” type of cat breed 🙂