If you love cats, you’ll love Istanbul. There are estimated to be between 100,000 and 1,000,000 cats in the city. Even on a short 15-minute walk we sometimes saw 20-30 cats and kittens. We love cats, so it was a great experience for us spending a couple of weeks in Istanbul.
While in many cities, cats like this would be considered to be just strays, in Istanbul they are considered to be owned communally by everyone in the neighborhood.
Not only do people make sure the cats are fed and have fresh water to drink, but they also built small homes for them.
As well as seeing many cats on the street, you’ll also see them lounging about in stores and restaurants. My visited the grocery store in the above image a few times and always saw this cat hanging around.
The vegan café above usually had four cats either inside or outside the store.
The above antique store was opposite the vegan restaurant. The grocery store at the corner also had a cat inside.
It’s pretty normal to find cats asleep on the roofs of cars. Outside one of the apartments we stayed there was a row of 3 cars with a cat on the roof of each one every morning and evening.
As well as cars, cats seem to like motorbikes.
A pet shop on our street provided food and water for the locals cats.
You see cat boxes like the above all over the city.
We also saw quite a few kittens around the streets. They were mostly quite friendly and playful.
Most of the cats, including the one above, love to be stroked and shown some love.
Do Istanbul cats have rabies?
According to this article in Wikipedia, “Although stray cats can be a vector for rabies, out of all 21 rabies cases in Turkey documented between 2000 and 2014 none were through a contact between cats and humans.”
It’s very unlikely that you’d get rabies from a cat in Istanbul, but I’d still advise caution. If you’re bitten by a cat, get to a local hospital to get checked up right away. Better safe than sorry.