Istanbul is the city that connects two continents, Asia and Europe. Many civilizations, kingdoms, empires and countries have wanted to have Istanbul throughout history. Right now, it is in the land of the Republic of Turkey — but the true rulers of the city are definitely its cats.
Istanbul is famous not only for its historical sites but also for its many stray cats. While they are stray, Turkish people pet, feed and take care of them so well that some may even look healthier than house cats. You may see 15 of them in a single street — so imagine a megacity full of cats. The cats have become a well-known symbol of Istanbul.
So if you visit Istanbul one day, don’t be surprised by the number of stray cats. They are friendly and will come to you to get petted. If you are scared of them, just say go away, and they will leave you alone. They are smart and have a special connection with people.
On Oct. 29, 2021, Turkish Republic Day, people were on the street to celebrate. Of course, they weren’t the only ones who were on the street: stray cats are a symbol of Istanbul and always will be.
Photo gallery by Elif Aslıhan Alp. Alp is a high schooler producing content as a part of the The Stanford Daily’s 2021 High School Multimedia Workshop.