Keeping watch outside of the Suleymaniye Mosque.

Yes, I am a cat lover. So in addition to all of the amazing history and architecture I knew I would see in Istanbul, I was really looking forward to seeing all of Istanbul’s stray cats (does that sound weird?).

I heard they would be everywhere and I was not disappointed – even though I never did catch the infamous cat in the Agora Guesthouse shower that Jodi Ettenberg wrote about in her great post explaining why there are so many cats in Istanbul in the first place.

Guarding the entrance to a shop on Istiklal Street.
Sun bathing amid the chaos near Eminomu Pier.
An early morning breakfast on Istiklal Street

I may have taken as many pictures of cats as I did of anything else in Istanbul (ok, not really, but it seemed like it). Istiklal Street, especially early in the morning, proved to be my best area for spotting cute kitties but really, I couldn’t go very far in any part of the city without seeing one. And I certainly got my fair share of strange looks from the locals as I whipped out my camera and crouched down to snap a shot of just about every cat I saw.

Cat napping in a shisha cafe.
Relaxing on some steps along Istiklal Street.
This guy has the whole posing for tourist pictures thing down perfectly.
Looking ready to pounce.
Sleeping in the Aya Sophia.

One of the things I liked about Istanbul was that the stray cats seemed to be well taken care of – I rarely saw cats that looked sick, injured or far too hungry, as I have in other places I have visited.

It may be for that reason that Istanbul’s strays all seemed so darn cute. Not to mention they all seemed to be pros at posing for pictures – they must be used to a lot of cat-loving tourists like me.


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