Street Cats & Dogs Istanbul

Istanbul is a large European city with a population of almost 15 million, located on the Bosphorus Strait which separates the continents of Europe and Asia. Historically known as Byzantium from 660 BC and then Constantinople from 300 AD, and since coming under Ottoman rule in the 15th Century, the city has been known as Istanbul.

Under the Ottoman Empire, the pious cared for cats through local charitable foundations.

Dogs have also been very much a part of the city fabric since Ottoman times.

There are many weather proof cat boxes in door ways, green areas and other street areas. Throughout the city you will also see homemade water stations and biscuit mounds.

In Karaköy, there are even small camp areas where cats and dogs can go to seek shelter and food.

Tagged or tipped dogs have been inoculated and neutered by an animal welfare organisation. They are then tracked and checked.

In Sultanahmet you see many people petting, playing and feeding the animals biscuits. Butchers put bones and meat outside for them.

Some restaurants use the money from the tip box to pay for vet services when the animals are sick and injured.

In the Hagia Sophia, a museum that was at different times a mosque and a Christian church, cats enjoy featuring in as many of the photographs as they can.

"No Entry" clearly only applies to humans.

This cat is a very popular addition to the exhibits.

It's a dog's life, crashing out in the park after a night on the town...

... saving the last bit of pizza for breakfast.

Both the cats and the dogs seem to be at one with their human counterparts.

Watch your car, sir?

It is inspiring, heartwarming and humbling to see how the people of Istanbul look after the innocent animals of their city.

I wish more people and places had the same respect and compassion towards our canine and feline friends.

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