Cats can do anything in Turkey: they walk the streets freely, sleep in restaurants and cafes, and live in shops and mosques. Local residents feed cats on a regular basis, and the authorities install kedi evi (cat houses) in the yards.
What is the reason for such boundless love?
First, street cats have long occupied an important place in the ecosystem of Turkish port cities, where there have always been many rodents. In the 8th century, tireless hunters saved Istanbul from the plague. And to this day, cats are still controlling the population of mice and rats in cities 🐭.
Secondly, respect for the feline tribe is a tribute to religious traditions, and an example of a caring attitude towards cats was the Prophet Muhammad himself: he washed his face with the water they drank, allowed them to enter the mosque and preached with a cat on his lap 🐱.
The Turks also believe that cats go to heaven and can put in a good word with Allah for the person who took care of them. That’s why the people of the country feed, water and protect the furry creatures in every possible way 🐈