Istanbul, cat

  ”Cats represent indescribable chaos, culture and uniqueness, which is also the essence of Istanbul. Without cats, Istanbul will lose part of its soul. There is no other place in the world like this.”
  This is the Turkish documentary “City of Cats” A paragraph at the beginning. When travelers come to this city at the junction of Europe and Asia, they only need to pay a little attention to find that the residents here are not limited to worshipers in the mosque, vendors in the Bazar, fishermen on the pier, and countless cats. . Istanbul belongs to cats as much as it belongs to humans.
  We lived in the old Sultanahmet district, in a cobweb-like old neighborhood between the Blue Mosque and the Sea of ​​Marmara. The so-called “parking lot” of the hotel was just a small piece of abandoned land on the corner of the street, with four cars parked side by side. A few cats belonging to this block often haunt the “parking lot”, sleep under the warm windshield car, or jump over the low wall, and run to the cafe facing the church, let them sit outside and sip apple tea Clients petting – if they just feel like they need a massage.
  There are countless stray cats in Istanbul, and they are the pets of the whole city. The Bosporus Strait has received ships and travelers from different countries since ancient times. The cats that sailors brought from their hometowns to catch mice on board also drifted to Istanbul, where they owned territories and descendants. During the Ottoman Empire, there were cats in almost every household in the city. They caught the rats that infested the sewers and exchanged their labor for a comfortable life.
  We are often drawn to cats escaping from an abandoned building while passing a narrow alleyway. They regard the abandoned building as a home and a playground, chasing and playing inside and outside the broken glass windows. There are often cat food and water by the window, which is the care of these guys by the surrounding residents.
  The Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, the Archaeological Museum – the most popular sights for humans are also places for cats. Thousands of tourists shuttle here, where they meet Istanbul’s cats for the first time, stroke their smooth fur, and share their food with them.
  No matter where we go, we can meet the ubiquitous cat. Some cats are lying lazily in front of the souvenir shop, and some are passing by behind an antique Roman mosaic in the souvenir shop of the Archaeological Museum, attracting passers-by to touch it.
  We found that the more narrow, old, chaotic, and diverse corners, the more cats—this is probably the aesthetic orientation of Istanbul. They walked silently on the awnings of shops that were constantly changing, among the walls that were knocked down and rebuilt and the ruins of demolition, and witnessed the ancient city being pushed forward by the tide of the times.
  The Book Bazaar is a great place to meet cats. After the market closes at dusk, a mighty big tabby cat patrols the roof, and two kittens play a real “peek-a-boo” in front of the closed shops.
  When we stretched out our hands, the kittens timidly avoided them, turned their hips and ran to the display window displaying Persian slates, and couldn’t help but peep curiously from the side of the big cats who came to protect them. The sanhua cat, who is not afraid of life, drinks the running water from the faucet in front of the sink with peace of mind. The bun-faced cat was full of the cat food left by the merchant in the bazaar, walked out from the corner of the house, and lay down gently in front of us, watching us with watery eyes.
  A few days later, we went to the book market again. At a very lively moment, the old owner of a bookstall was dozing off in the shop, and a cat outside the shop was also sleeping, lying on the pile of books displaying various Istanbul travel guides. The bustling passing crowd gently stroked it, and it just waved its paw lazily, turned over and continued to sleep on its back.
  At the end of the documentary, it said: “A cat meowing on your feet and looking up at you is actually the smile of life to you. Those lucky moments remind us that we are still alive.
  ” A cat turns over and reveals its soft belly to you, its eyes narrowed into a slit. That is the most tender hug Istanbul can give you.