Photographer's Note

Outside Lalemi Mosque, this slightly damaged feral cat was hanging around the water taps for worshippers.

Cats are usually my number one enemy that I avoid at all costs, as any close contact with one of them could sent me straight to the hospital in an extreme asthma crisis, but I have made an exception by paying attention to this one, as cats are emblematic of Turkey.

Turks are very much against euthanasia of dogs and cats for “population control”, as a predominantly Muslim society where cats are tolerated, even respected.

An Associated Press article from August 2010 was reporting that: “Islamic lore tells of a cat thwarting a poisonous snake that had approached the Prophet Muhammad. In another tale, the prophet found his cat sleeping on the edge of his vest. Instead of shifting the cat, the prophet cut off the portion of the vest that was free and wore it without disturbing the pet.”

Looking through history books about Islam, many mention the prophet’s love of felines and while variations on the foregoing stories exist, the overarching affection for cats has been consistent.

Indeed, a popular saying notes: “If you kill a cat, you need to build a mosque to be forgiven by God.”

As a result, wandering the streets of Istanbul you will see many small containers by the sides of buildings, and discreet food rations doled out by its inhabitants. While the cats are not adopted formally, they are taken care of by no one and everyone, a giant community network of cat caring.

Manamo, jjcordier, janjan1897, annjackman, adores, Suppiluliuma has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Andre Roberge (InasiaJones) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1391 W: 152 N: 6235] (31566)
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