Cats and Dogs in Istanbul

One of the first things that struck me as odd when I came to Istanbul was the number of cats and dogs living on the streets.


Over time, I came to see that many of these animals are fairly well taken care of. I often see people with bags of bread, meat, or even cat food that they bring to a central location to feed the cats and dogs. One time on campus, I saw a girl buy a cup of ayran (a salty, yogurt-y Turkish drink) specifically for one of the dogs that hangs out on the lawn. IMG_3147

Although no one really “owns” these animals, I don’t think of them as strays. It seems that many people here take responsibility for them, which is a good example of how Turkish society is more collectivist than the society I’m used to in the United States. Sometimes it’s sad to see these animals roaming about without a roof over their heads, but it’s a good lesson in cultural differences, and I think “pet culture” is one of them.

I do think dogs are more well liked than cats. Cats constantly beg for food and only want attention when you are eating, whereas the dogs love unconditionally.



One thought on “Cats and Dogs in Istanbul

  1. Sadie could take a lesson in “mellowing” from the Turkish dogs 😉 Able to relax and kick back no matter where they are.

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