Cats have become an inseparable part of neighbourhood life in Turkey's cultural capital.

A cat sits on the lap of a street musician in Istanbul, Turkey. January 2, 2018.
A cat sits on the lap of a street musician in Istanbul, Turkey. January 2, 2018. (Reuters)

In Istanbul's narrow backstreets, cats perch on rooftops and window sills, crouch on doorsteps and rest on nearly every corner.

Whether lounging in sunlight, grooming themselves or scampering into shops in search of food, cats have become an inseparable part of neighborhood life in Turkey's cultural capital.

They are so ubiquitous that no one bats an eye at a cat padding across the lobby of a high-rise office building, or when one curls up to sleep on a nearby bar-stool. Shop owners and locals often know their neighborhood cats by name and will tell tales about them, as if chatting about a friend.

Cats have become an inseparable part of neighborhood life in Turkey's cultural capital.
Cats have become an inseparable part of neighborhood life in Turkey's cultural capital. (Reuters)
Some cat-loving Istanbulites buy little feline houses to keep their furry neighbors warm on cold nights.
Some cat-loving Istanbulites buy little feline houses to keep their furry neighbors warm on cold nights. (Reuters)

Some cat-loving Istanbulites buy little feline houses to keep their furry neighbors warm on cold nights, taking advantage of the discount on cat supplies at pet stores during the winter months. Some even bring cats home on the coldest nights.

"Money is not an issue to some people when it comes to cats," said Ozan, a pet shop employee.

"They take in cats with broken legs, blind ones or ones with stomach problems and bring them to the clinic. When they see that they are healed, they let them live on the street again."

A man pets a cat as he walks down a street in Istanbul, Turkey, January 9, 2018
A man pets a cat as he walks down a street in Istanbul, Turkey, January 9, 2018 (Reuters)

In the district of Cihangir, where the streets are lined with such little cat shelters, it is not uncommon for felines to take the last available seats in crowded bars, leaving adoring customers to stand by, petting them, as they awake from yet another nap.

Shop owners and locals often know their neighbourhood cats by name and will tell tales about them, as if chatting about a friend.
Shop owners and locals often know their neighbourhood cats by name and will tell tales about them, as if chatting about a friend. (Reuters)

Nor is it unusual to see cats hopping into the laps of restaurant patrons, hoping for a comfortable spot to rest - and a chance to nab a scrap of food.

A cat plays in Istanbul, Turkey, January 15, 2018
A cat plays in Istanbul, Turkey, January 15, 2018 (Reuters)
"Money is not an issue to some people when it comes to cats," says Ozan, a pet shop employee. (Reuters)
Source: Reuters