The secret life of Istanbul’s street cats

Some cat-loving Istanbulites buy little feline houses to keep their furry neighbours warm on cold nights

In Istanbul’s narrow backstreets, cats perch on rooftops and window sills, crouch on doorsteps and rest on nearly every corner.

Whether lounging in sunlight, grooming themselves or scampering into shops in search of food, cats have become an inseparable part of neighbourhood life in Europe’s biggest city.

They are so ubiquitous that no one bats an eye at a cat padding across the lobby of a high-rise office building, or when one curls up to sleep on a nearby barstool. Shop owners and locals often know their neighbourhood cats by name and will tell tales about them, as if chatting about a friend.

Some cat-loving Istanbulites buy little feline houses to keep their furry neighbours warm on cold nights, taking advantage of the discount on cat supplies at pet stores during the winter months. Some even bring cats home on the coldest nights.

“Money is not an issue to some people when it comes to cats,” said Ozan, a pet shop employee.

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