The Cutest Stray Cats in Istanbul

Keeping watch outside of the Suleymaniye Mosque.

Yes, I am a cat lover. So in addition to all of the amazing history and architecture I knew I would see in Istanbul, I was really looking forward to seeing all of Istanbul’s stray cats (does that sound weird?).

I heard they would be everywhere and I was not disappointed – even though I never did catch the infamous cat in the Agora Guesthouse shower that Jodi Ettenberg wrote about in her great post explaining why there are so many cats in Istanbul in the first place.

Istiklal Street, Istanbul, Turkey
Guarding the entrance to a shop on Istiklal Street.
Eminonu Pier, Istanbul, Turkey
Sun bathing amid the chaos near Eminomu Pier.
Istiklal Street, Istanbul, Turkey
An early morning breakfast on Istiklal Street

I may have taken as many pictures of cats as I did of anything else in Istanbul (ok, not really, but it seemed like it). Istiklal Street, especially early in the morning, proved to be my best area for spotting cute kitties but really, I couldn’t go very far in any part of the city without seeing one. And I certainly got my fair share of strange looks from the locals as I whipped out my camera and crouched down to snap a shot of just about every cat I saw.

Istanbul, Turkey
Cat napping in a shisha cafe.
Istiklal Street, Istanbul, Turkey
Relaxing on some steps along Istiklal Street.
Istanbul, Turkey
This guy has the whole posing for tourist pictures thing down perfectly.
Istanbul, Turkey
Looking ready to pounce.
Aya Sophia, Istanbul, Turkey
Sleeping in the Aya Sophia.

One of the things I liked about Istanbul was that the stray cats seemed to be well taken care of – I rarely saw cats that looked sick, injured or far too hungry, as I have in other places I have visited.

It may be for that reason that Istanbul’s strays all seemed so darn cute. Not to mention they all seemed to be pros at posing for pictures – they must be used to a lot of cat-loving tourists like me.


10 thoughts on “The Cutest Stray Cats in Istanbul”

  1. This post makes me want to travel to Turkey just to see these little guys. I love cats too. I want to save them all but I know I can’t. Have you seen the stray cats in San Juan? They overrun the streets too.

  2. whilst there photos are beautiful, there are many of us fighting against the cruelty and thoughtlessness that is shown to the street animals….
    the reason there are so many is that animals are often thrown onto the street, few are neutered and so the population keeps growing.
    our group and many groups like it, try to feed, vaccinate and neuter the animals and provide vetinary care when necessary.
    you’re welcome to join our group;
    which operates in the cihangir area of istanbul, famous for the quantity of cats that live there…
    meanwhile, the government is trying to push through a new law that will take all the animals off the streets and put them into death camps…. they also propose to limit the number of animals per residence and to allow animal testing, which it currently does not. we have marched on three demonstrations since the proposal was announced, but so far we have only succeeded in delaying it….

  3. Great article but do you know the government is trying to pass a bill (Article 5199) to remove all the stray cats and dogs from the streets of Turkey?

  4. Oh, man, you’ve discovered my great online weakness. Cute cat photos. Absolutely irresistible.

    Love this post! I probably would have tried to fit all of them in my backpack…

  5. I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed the cats everywhere in Istanbul! Even throughout Turkey, I saw local people feeding and playing with the stray cats so they are definitely well taken care of.

  6. Pingback: Great travel articles

  7. As a huge cat lover, of course I love these photos – I don’t remember there being so many stray cats in Istanbul, I guess it’s time to return! 🙂

  8. Katie,

    I just returned from Turkey and did the very same thing, but included dogs. I loved the cats sitting in on our lectures in Ephesus, for instance. I love, love, love Turkey and am happily looking forward to reading other entries. Joyful travels to you.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top