If there is a city on earth that is ruled by stray cats, it must be the Istanbul in Turkey.
Istanbul stray cats have lived in the city for thousands of years.
From the Eastern Roman Empire to Ottoman Turkey, these cats witnessed the rise and fall of the empire's millennium and witnessed the human rulers coming and going.
Most of the cats in Istanbul have no owners. Whether they are loved, despised or ignored, they are inevitably part of the daily life of Istanbul people.
Unlike cats in other cities, Istanbul cats are neither typical stray cats nor disdain to become human pets.
They live freely in Istanbul and get the love and worship of the two-legged beasts in the city.
It can be said that there is no real stray cat in Istanbul.
Because everyone in this city is an owner. Every cat has its own fixed or unfixed human partner.
The stray cats are already the master of the city and an inseparable part of the city.
A film crew followed the daily life of seven cats and human partners in Istanbul.
They are not much different from the other ones here, but they have their own unique personality and experience.
Perhaps their stories will give people a better understanding of how people and cats get along in this cat-occupied city.
These five unique and characteristic cat are "The hustler" Sari， "The lover" Bengu, "The hunter"Aslan, "The psycho" Psikopat, "The social butterfly" Deniz.
"The Hustler" Sari
"The hustler" Sari will come out early in the morning. It stays in a café on the square for a while, and straightens up to find the guests to eat.
The clerk of the cafe saw it and came out to bang it away.
Sari expressed her protest with a slight snoring, and she didn’t quite mind the charity of the coffee shop guests.
Because after a few hundred meters, she can almost find food to feed herself.
On the streets of Istanbul, cat food and water left by the residents can be found everywhere.
Sure enough, there is food and water next to the bench. Sari eats the cat food, and goes on after drinking the water.
After that, Sari sneaked into a clothing store, and the landlady saw Sari and gave her a piece of meat as usual, and Sari picked it up and ran back.
It turned out that this is the lunch for her children.
Sari ran to the place where he hid the kids. It's a warehouse. The door was locked, and Sari called a few times to the uncle at the door, then the uncle opened the door for her.
Sari went straight in and put down the meat. Several kittens ran out of the shadows and began to eat. In this way, Sari finds food and water for kids on her turf every day. Therefore, Sari also got a nickname in this neighborhood: "The hustler". After feeding the kids, Sari ran back to the clothing store and started to sleep on the stool.
Speaking of it, the acquaintance of Sari and the clothing store owner is a story.
One day, the landlady of clothing store came back and saw Sari standing at the door, so she snarled at Sari and tried to drive it away. She didn't expect Sari to sing her back with a snoring, and she would not move in one step.
Landlady said: "Sari is a very strong personality of the cat, and refuses to give in, as if to tell me, I will come back when I am away.... So we became friends like this...."
Since then, Sari usually stay in the clothing shop.
"Sari has become more diligent after being a mother. She often takes the initiative to go out for food. It is not as lazy as it used to be that sleep in my shop almost all day..." Landlady recalled.
The landlady said that she never thought Sari was her own cat, and Sari herself did not think the landlady was her exclusive human partner.
In Istanbul, there are many people and cats who have always been like friends with each other after the accidental encounter just like the landlady. Landlady said: "There are countless cats outside, and everyone is happy to raise them collectively".
"The Lover" Bengu
For many years, the "The lover" Bengu has had two human partners, two uncles who are separated by a few crossings on the same block.
Bengu will spend time playing with two uncles every day. What's interesting is that the two uncles don't know each other.
Bengu lives in a paper box on the shelf of the hardware store of the owner uncle, and there are several kittens in the paper box.
The uncle of the hardware store said that he loves Bengu very much for a reason:
"There were four cats in the store before. Bengu was the thinnest one. Later, the other three left and went away. Only Bengu stayed. For me, it is a 'lover'."
The uncle of the hardware store said frankly that Bengu's temper is not a well-behaved cat, but he still loves it. The uncle said:
"It often gets angry with me, and maybe my temper is not good at that time, but I never beat it because of anger, just yell at it and let it go, so it went to the door and turned back again..."
"Although Bengu is not my pet cat, it has become a part of my life. Every day, as long as I can't see it, I can't hear it, my heart will not be uneasy...."
Bengu's home is in the hardware store of uncle, but Bengu’s daily activities are in elsewhere.
Bengu ran out, two crossing away, there was another her human "lover".
The "Underground" of the another uncle and Bengu has also continued for many years. This another uncle said: "Bengu has known me for seven or eight years. When I met it, it was still a kitten. It was only playing in this area, and only close to me."
Bengu came over on time every day, and the uncle prepared the cat food and water to wait for it. Bengu enjoyed the cat food, and the uncle brushed it with a brush. The uncle said: "I can't be so good for other cats, because Bengu will angry."
"The Hunter" Aslan
In a beautiful restaurant by the sea, a cat named Aslan works here everyday.
In Turkish, Aslan means lion.
In the past, this seaside restaurant had countless mice in the vicinity.
The neighbors didn't know when to start, a mighty cat that looks like a lion appeared, and took the initiative to catch rats nearby. Then it will take the mouse's body to the restaurant to ask for reward, the clerk will give it food.
As time went by, this cat got a name, Aslan.
Aslan was stationed in the restaurant like this.
During the day, it wanders around and sleeps. At night it consciously plunges into work (Catch mice). The restaurant owner said: "We never told it to catch mice, but it started so tacitly. It protects us from rats. We raise it. I really appreciate Aslan."
"The Psycho" Psikopat
The female cat Psikopat, nicknamed " The psycho", is a big master in this block.
Its main hobby is to go to the fish shop to steal fish, Psikopat is the nightmare of all the fish shop owners nearby. Her second hobby is to bully the dogs in this area, and even the bulldogs have not let go.
As soon as the nearby dogs smelled the breath of Psikopat, they were all scared and eclipsed, and they picked up their tails to find the owner for shelter.
Psikopat is well known in this block, so she has the title of the psycho.
However, this residents are still admired of its personality of strong woman that tender love can't enter her eyes.
Psikopat patrols her turf from the top of the church every day on time. As the queen of this block.
Psikopat has a husband, a male with a similar color to her. When she is eating, her husband has to wait for it to finish before he can start himself.
Taking advantage of the space when the Psikopat was eating, her husband ran to flirt with an orange cat and was caught by Psikopat on the spot.
Psikopat would beat both of her husband and the orange cat.
“Psikopat is so strong, it wants to use its own power to make people and animals in this block love it and respect it, Psikopat does.”
"The Social Butterfly" Deniz
In a lively vegetable market in Istanbul, Deniz lives here as long as other cats.
When Deniz was still very young,
One day Deniz jumped on the ceiling of a booth and looked curiously below. A uncle who sold vegetable saw it and hugged it.
Since then, Deniz has become a frequenter here.
“It was very shy at first. After a few months, it began to approach us slowly. Now it has become our best friend....” Small traders said.
After being familiar with the market, Deniz makes itself at home here.
Deniz went to the booth to dismantle the station.
Deniz helped uncle organize his fruit stall.
Or just lie in the pile of goods and sleep, it’s all about the daily activity of cats just like the Deniz.
However, with the development of nearby high-rises, this vegetable market is likely to face demolition, and the seller is worried about the future of the cats.
"Where Deniz and his friends go, it is our biggest concern, more than worrying about ourselves. After all, we have government arrangements. But no one cares about the future of these little guys. You have to know that cats are used to being in one place. They are not willing to go somewhere else...." The sellers said.
Istanbul Residents's Lover for Stray Cats
In addition to their different personalities and experience of cats, the residents's love for cats is also the reason why the city has become a paradise for cats.
This fish stall will be visited by some small thieves everyday.
But the uncle is never angry, and even picks some small fish and feeds them.
"There is a cat don't ask for fish every day. One day, the female cat is pregnant. It came for fish, I gave it some. After a period of time, one day it came again, I gave it to the fish, it didn’t even pick it up, and it’s always calling at me. Later I realized that it wanted to take me to see its kids. I followed it to the place where it was hidden. There was group of cute kittens. It seemed to want to introduce the children to me." said the uncle.
This uncle of the crew will often come to the shore to feed a few small cats who have been abandoned by their mothers.
In his opinion, the cat is always the embodiment of luck:
"About 15 years ago, my ship was in a storm, and was stranded here, everything on it was gone, no one for help.
At that time, I saw a cat who kept yelling at me. Then itI took me here. There was a wallet inside, and there were 120 riels in the wallet. These money became my life-saving straw." the uncle recalled.
And this aunt who has been taking care of the stray cats in this block for more than a decade in order to heal his own psychological trauma.
"I have tried many methods before, until I started taking care of the cat, I has been cured." said the aunt.
It’s these many ordinary residents in Istanbul, in the thousands of years of inheritance, to make such a city full of love for the cats be built.
It is these kind and warm-hearted people that make Istanbul a "city ruled by the comets."
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