ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 08: A kitten plays in a park on August 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is known as the City of Cats and sometimes referred to as 'Catstanbul.' Hundreds of thousands of cats have roamed the metropolis for thousands of years. The city's streets are lined with food and water bowls and small cat houses placed by residents in a communal effort to look after the street cats. In Islam cats are considered ritually clean animals and the only animal to be permitted to enter the Great Mosque of Mecca and there are many stories in the history books referencing the Prophet Muhammad's love of cats. In 2016 a documentary film 'Kedi' meaning cat in Turkish, which followed the daily life of a group of cats in the city grossed more than four million USD at the box office making it one of the highest grossing foreign language films to date. August 8 is International Cat Day. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Why Istanbul Loves Stray Cats

Welcome to the city of cat fanciers.

If you're a cat, there's likely no better city in which to live than Istanbul. Affectionately known as Catstanbul, the city's residents actually look after the strays by lining the streets with little cat-size houses, food, and water bowls. One of the reasons behind the special treatment may be that Islam — the largest religion in Turkey — considers cats to be ritually clean and so they are revered. Here, a closer look at some of the locals.

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 07: cats gather in the street on August 7, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is known as the City of Cats and sometimes referred to as 'Catstanbul.' Hundreds of thousands of cats have roamed the metropolis for thousands of years. The city's streets are lined with food and water bowls and small cat houses placed by residents in a communal effort to look after the street cats. In Islam cats are considered ritually clean animals and the only animal to be permitted to enter the Great Mosque of Mecca and there are many stories in the history books referencing the Prophet Muhammad's love of cats. In 2016 a documentary film 'Kedi' meaning cat in Turkish, which followed the daily life of a group of cats in the city grossed more than four million USD at the box office making it one of the highest grossing foreign language films to date. August 8 is International Cat Day. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Chris McGrath/Getty Images SQUAD ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 08: A cat drinks water in front of a cat house at the Uskudar mosque on August 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is known as the City of Cats and sometimes referred to as 'Catstanbul.' Hundreds of thousands of cats have roamed the metropolis for thousands of years. The city's streets are lined with food and water bowls and small cat houses placed by residents in a communal effort to look after the street cats. In Islam cats are considered ritually clean animals and the only animal to be permitted to enter the Great Mosque of Mecca and there are many stories in the history books referencing the Prophet Muhammad's love of cats. In 2016 a documentary film 'Kedi' meaning cat in Turkish, which followed the daily life of a group of cats in the city grossed more than four million USD at the box office making it one of the highest grossing foreign language films to date. August 8 is International Cat Day. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Chris McGrath/Getty Images CAT CONDO

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ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 08: A kitten looks out from a cat house in a park on August 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is known as the City of Cats and sometimes referred to as 'Catstanbul.' Hundreds of thousands of cats have roamed the metropolis for thousands of years. The city's streets are lined with food and water bowls and small cat houses placed by residents in a communal effort to look after the street cats. In Islam cats are considered ritually clean animals and the only animal to be permitted to enter the Great Mosque of Mecca and there are many stories in the history books referencing the Prophet Muhammad's love of cats. In 2016 a documentary film 'Kedi' meaning cat in Turkish, which followed the daily life of a group of cats in the city grossed more than four million USD at the box office making it one of the highest grossing foreign language films to date. August 8 is International Cat Day. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Chris McGrath/Getty Images A HOME ON THE STREETS ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 07: Cats wait for fishermen to feed them their catch on August 7, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is known as the City of Cats and sometimes referred to as 'Catstanbul.' Hundreds of thousands of cats have roamed the metropolis for thousands of years. The city's streets are lined with food and water bowls and small cat houses placed by residents in a communal effort to look after the street cats. In Islam cats are considered ritually clean animals and the only animal to be permitted to enter the Great Mosque of Mecca and there are many stories in the history books referencing the Prophet Muhammad's love of cats. In 2016 a documentary film 'Kedi' meaning cat in Turkish, which followed the daily life of a group of cats in the city grossed more than four million USD at the box office making it one of the highest grossing foreign language films to date. August 8 is International Cat Day. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Chris McGrath/Getty Images PATIENTLY WAITING ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 07: A cat looks out from an electronics store on August 7, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is known as the City of Cats and sometimes referred to as 'Catstanbul.' Hundreds of thousands of cats have roamed the metropolis for thousands of years. The city's streets are lined with food and water bowls and small cat houses placed by residents in a communal effort to look after the street cats. In Islam cats are considered ritually clean animals and the only animal to be permitted to enter the Great Mosque of Mecca and there are many stories in the history books referencing the Prophet Muhammad's love of cats. In 2016 a documentary film 'Kedi' meaning cat in Turkish, which followed the daily life of a group of cats in the city grossed more than four million USD at the box office making it one of the highest grossing foreign language films to date. August 8 is International Cat Day. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Chris McGrath/Getty Images WANDERING IN ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 07: A cat looks out from inside a skateboard shop on August 7, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is known as the City of Cats and sometimes referred to as 'Catstanbul.' Hundreds of thousands of cats have roamed the metropolis for thousands of years. The city's streets are lined with food and water bowls and small cat houses placed by residents in a communal effort to look after the street cats. In Islam cats are considered ritually clean animals and the only animal to be permitted to enter the Great Mosque of Mecca and there are many stories in the history books referencing the Prophet Muhammad's love of cats. In 2016 a documentary film 'Kedi' meaning cat in Turkish, which followed the daily life of a group of cats in the city grossed more than four million USD at the box office making it one of the highest grossing foreign language films to date. August 8 is International Cat Day. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Chris McGrath/Getty Images WINDOW SHOPPING
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 06: A cat rests on a moped on August 6, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is known as the City of Cats and sometimes referred to as 'Catstanbul.' Hundreds of thousands of cats have roamed the metropolis for thousands of years. The city's streets are lined with food and water bowls and small cat houses placed by residents in a communal effort to look after the street cats. In Islam cats are considered ritually clean animals and the only animal to be permitted to enter the Great Mosque of Mecca and there are many stories in the history books referencing the Prophet Muhammad's love of cats. In 2016 a documentary film 'Kedi' meaning cat in Turkish, which followed the daily life of a group of cats in the city grossed more than four million USD at the box office making it one of the highest grossing foreign language films to date. August 8 is International Cat Day. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 07: Kittens rest in a cat house on the street on August 7, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is known as the City of Cats and sometimes referred to as 'Catstanbul.' Hundreds of thousands of cats have roamed the metropolis for thousands of years. The city's streets are lined with food and water bowls and small cat houses placed by residents in a communal effort to look after the street cats. In Islam cats are considered ritually clean animals and the only animal to be permitted to enter the Great Mosque of Mecca and there are many stories in the history books referencing the Prophet Muhammad's love of cats. In 2016 a documentary film 'Kedi' meaning cat in Turkish, which followed the daily life of a group of cats in the city grossed more than four million USD at the box office making it one of the highest grossing foreign language films to date. August 8 is International Cat Day. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images Chris McGrath/Getty Images ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 08: A cat sleeps at the entrance to an apartment building on August 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is known as the City of Cats and sometimes referred to as 'Catstanbul.' Hundreds of thousands of cats have roamed the metropolis for thousands of years. The city's streets are lined with food and water bowls and small cat houses placed by residents in a communal effort to look after the street cats. In Islam cats are considered ritually clean animals and the only animal to be permitted to enter the Great Mosque of Mecca and there are many stories in the history books referencing the Prophet Muhammad's love of cats. In 2016 a documentary film 'Kedi' meaning cat in Turkish, which followed the daily life of a group of cats in the city grossed more than four million USD at the box office making it one of the highest grossing foreign language films to date. August 8 is International Cat Day. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Chris McGrath/Getty Images DOOR PRIZE ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 08: A cat sleeps next to an Ottoman bust on August 8, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is known as the City of Cats and sometimes referred to as 'Catstanbul.' Hundreds of thousands of cats have roamed the metropolis for thousands of years. The city's streets are lined with food and water bowls and small cat houses placed by residents in a communal effort to look after the street cats. In Islam cats are considered ritually clean animals and the only animal to be permitted to enter the Great Mosque of Mecca and there are many stories in the history books referencing the Prophet Muhammad's love of cats. In 2016 a documentary film 'Kedi' meaning cat in Turkish, which followed the daily life of a group of cats in the city grossed more than four million USD at the box office making it one of the highest grossing foreign language films to date. August 8 is International Cat Day. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Chris McGrath/Getty Images IN THE SHADOW OF A STATUE ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 07: A cat sits on top of a cat house on the street on August 7, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is known as the City of Cats and sometimes referred to as 'Catstanbul.' Hundreds of thousands of cats have roamed the metropolis for thousands of years. The city's streets are lined with food and water bowls and small cat houses placed by residents in a communal effort to look after the street cats. In Islam cats are considered ritually clean animals and the only animal to be permitted to enter the Great Mosque of Mecca and there are many stories in the history books referencing the Prophet Muhammad's love of cats. In 2016 a documentary film 'Kedi' meaning cat in Turkish, which followed the daily life of a group of cats in the city grossed more than four million USD at the box office making it one of the highest grossing foreign language films to date. August 8 is International Cat Day. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images) Chris McGrath/Getty Images HOUSE PROUD



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