Taksim Metro Cat

Over the past few days a video has gone viral (link to the video at the end of this story), showing up on newsfeed on my various social media more than a few times.  That video is the latest kitty internet sensation – Taksim Metro Cat.  A cat that gives no shits about you… or you… or even you!

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Anyone who has ever visited Istanbul (or Turkey for that matter) knows how much Turkish people just love their kediler.  They are everywhere and they are treated with a lot of love and respect despite the fact that they can go from zero to grade A jerks in a heartbeat.  One of the most famous Türk kedileri is the Hagia Sophia Kedi, a little cross-eyed tabby who is so beloved that he has fan sites where people can upload photos of him.  Now there is another famous kedi here in Turkey.  Introducing Taksim Metro Cat and I had the great pleasure of bumping into her a few times during my week in Istanbul.

She favours two spots.  Both of them extremely inconvenient for the commuter as they are both on upward riding escalators.  Our first encounter was as we stopped to visit the Republic Monument at Taksim Square. There she was, this pretty little calico chilling by the Metro exit, just as she was in that video.  People dodged her as she lay stretched out giving silent, judgmental stares to those who nearly tripped over her. At first, I was worried that she would be trampled but, again as you see in the video, she is totally relaxed and loving the chaos she was causing.

The next time we crossed paths she was inside, again chilling on the upward riding escalator but at least indoors (it was the one day it snowed for a full minute while we were there).  Taksim Metro Cat knew the weather outside was frightful and was very content to sit and be petted as we passed.

The final time we saw Taksim Metro Cat she was doing the lazy cat equivalent of hunting.  You know how they go.  They make a little effort, they do the crazy cry, and then they roll over and let the pigeon continue on its way, oblivious to its close demise.

For those of you who are concerned about her welfare, she is one very happy little cat. A stray animal here in Turkey is not the same as a stray anywhere else.  Here they are loved.  Taksim Metro Cat is very well looked after. Her fur is soft and clean.  Her eyes are bright.  She is quite a tubby girl and I’m pretty sure she has been desexed as her ear was clipped.  On researching Taksim Metro Cat I found there are lots of people who feed her and many photos of her chilling out welcoming the commuters and tourists each day and even you guys are adding photos of her on my FB page.  Okay, maybe she’s not welcoming, rather she is just making a kitty nuisance of herself and having kitty fun tripping unsuspecting people up as they pass. Why does she love the escalator so much?  I’m guessing that grate is warm from the engine underneath. She is quite content.

This is one cool cat people and if any of you happen to be visiting Istanbul go up and introduce yourself.  She might ignore you but at least you can say you had a brush with fame while on your travels!

And today Taksim Metro Cat got her very own report on Anadolu Kedisi.  Click on the link and see all the fabulous photos and the actual video at the bottom.  Like me you will no doubt laugh at the reaction of the woman in the pink joggers “Bu kadar?” Hahaha!

Have you seen the Turkish documentary “Kedi”?  If not, you should grab a copy today –

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Kedi Update No. 2

It has been a while since I have mentioned the stray cats here in the village so I thought today I would give you an update on their welfare.

Last December I had managed to find homes for two of Nanu’s kittens.  Two little girls were lucky to have a home where they will be loved and cherished.  Or so I thought.  While Daughter and I were in Australia the two kittens who were now fully grown cats were abandoned back in our yard.  Not only were they abandoned, they were both pregnant and they were left to try and acclimatise in an environment that was completely foreign to them.  These were two house cats, completely domesticated and they have had a hell of a rough time fitting in with the other Village Kedi’s.  I was livid.  Both of them have now had their babies although only one has survived from each litter.  Meet Sheldon and Penny.  Daughter and I are fast running out of names for all these kediler.  Sheldon’s mum has disappeared but thankfully Penny’s mum took Sheldon as one of her own and fed him.  These are two of the sweetest little kittens that currently live in my yard and are scheduled be taken to the vet next week for their first round of shots.

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With The Turk now away Evil has wormed her way into our home.  This is a huge bonus for Evil as up until now she has been very welcome to live in our stairwell but entrance to the “promised land” has been off limits to her at The Turk’s insistence.  She is now spayed and has had her shots as well so welcome Evil, make yourself at home.  And she has.

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For those of you who have been wondering how the infamous Stanley has been faring (yes yet another story about Stanley) well he has taken up with the Rottweiler next door.  I assume it is because they both have no tail – kindred spirits and all that.  Regardless they love each other and it means that Stanley no longer craps in our stairwell as he can usually be found giving all his affection and time to Hercules.  My Hurley Dog finds Stanley a little overbearing. A little too much love, too much affection.  I love you.  I need you.  I miss you.  I love you.  If Stanley was human he would definitely be one of those stalker types.  He is just so full on with his affection!

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I continue to feed all the strays and, if possible, capture them for spaying.  It is a slow process.  Nanu has had another set of kittens (I have lost count as to how many kittens she has had over the years) although I am yet to find where this litter is hiding.  Pretty also had babies but I am certain they have all perished.  If I find no sign of her babies in the next few days I am going to grab Pretty and take her for spaying. She is generally a pretty unhealthy cat and I suspect there will be more to her visit to the vet than just spaying and some shots.

It is a never ending battle with these cats but I cannot abandon them.  It takes only a few lira a day out of my pocket to feed them and, although the spaying or vet bills do build up, I always reimburse the vet for his efforts (although sometimes he may have to wait a week or so for payment).  I cannot imagine how these girls (and Stanley being the only male of the group) would go without The Turk and I helping them.  Sadly I cannot help all the strays in the Village and it is not unusual to find the remains of cats and kittens (and dogs for that matter) on the side of the road.

Just a side note about the stray dog situation here in the Village.  There is usually one or two gangs of köpekler (dogs) that roam the streets here although I wonder if the Council have rounded them up as I have not seen any for a few weeks now.  I hope they have all been re-homed but realistically I suspect that this may not have been their outcome.

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An Update on Stanley

I thought you would all appreciate knowing how Stanley is.  Just to remind you Stanley is one of our Bahce Kediler (garden cats) and was hit by a car a couple of weeks ago.  The Turk whisked him off to the vet where his tail was, unfortunately, gangrene and was amputated.  Funnily enough this is our second cat that has had his tail amputated (although officially Stanley is not our cat – I have to make that clear as The Turk is back to his grumpy ways about me feeding all the strays around here).

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Many years ago I had a cat which was named “Jon Louis Scheftsik” or “Chevy” for short.  The motto “YOLO” or “You Only Live Once” explained this cat to a tee.  Chevy loved to sleep in the sunshine however he usually liked to do that in the middle of the road.  In the space of his 20-odd years he had been hit by a car at least four times, had tick poisoning on two separate occasions and generally caused more havoc than he was worth.  He did lose his tail though.  At first it was just the tip however the gangrene had spread too quickly so two operations and nearly $2,000 later the vet took the whole tail off.  He did not seem to mind however, he was still as silly as he was pre-loss of tail.  He died a couple of years back and, in case you are wondering, yes he was hit by a car.  Unfortunately I could not find a photo of him but he was a beautiful grey and white kitty with a spot on the end of his nose.

Anyway back to Stanley – he seems to have made a full recovery.  Well not a full recovery but is probably at about 70%.  I expect that he is still very sore.  He finished his course of antibiotics and we still spray the antiseptic onto his stitches but he is back to meowing at the top of his lungs.  He has, however, become a bit of a grumpy old troll.  Not with us mind you just with all the other Bahce Kediler and in particular the ones that favour Daughter and I.  It is clear that he has now taken ownership of our building.  Everything and everyone in the building falls under his domain.  If any of the other cats come within spitting distance of our building there is an all-mighty ruckus downstairs and one of us have to go and break them up.  The bloody cat will injure itself if he’s not careful.

Right now he is sitting on my welcome mat waiting for me to open the door.  Daughter keeps putting biscuits out there so I guess he will not be going anywhere anytime soon but that’s alright with me.  He is definitely a friendly little stray and even though he will not be allowed inside he is definitely welcome anytime.

For the Love of Cats

My first visit to Turkey not only introduced me to The Turk but it also introduced me to the stray cats (and stray animals in general) in Turkey.  From the grizzly old tom cat waiting for the fishing boats to return or the protective mothers with tiny babies taking their first steps in Turkey there were always cats sleeping, sunning and meowing their way into my heart. 

Daughter has inherited her love of cats from me and so when she found an abandoned kitten during a visit to Karaduvar a couple of years ago she immediately adopted said kitten and took it upon herself to nurse it back to health.  The kitten, christened Nanu, was fed and loved by Daughter and by the time we returned to Australia Nanu was strong enough to survive although Daughter did leave strict instructions with her grandmother to continue to feed and care for the cat.

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Nanu still lives outside my mother in law’s house and now has babies of her own.  In fact she is part of the kamikaze soldiers who are trying to take my Hurley Dog out and, in fact, seems to be the main protagonist in the attacks on him.

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When we first arrived here in September I noticed a little grey kitten living in the garden across the road.  After enquiries I was told that this little one was from a litter of five however she is the only survivor as its mother died a couple of weeks back by unknown cause.  I do not recall the mother cat but I do recall the cat carcass that was ripped apart by the stray dogs and left near our house. 

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Daughter now has a new mission which is, of course, to save “Grey Cat” and before school each morning she rushes downstairs to put warm milk in a bowl near our door.  I have also caught her a few times slip food into her pocket and disappear after dinner – no doubt to feed Grey Cat or Nanu or one of the other kamikaze cats running around – but, of course, I would have done the same thing at her age so I simply smile to myself thankful that Daughter is such a caring soul.  Grey Cat is a nice looking little thing but after having chased it out of the house once already today I will have to instruct Daughter to make it a bed under the balcony where it will be protected by the elements but will not come into my home and agitate Kedi (and Hurley Dog for that matter).

And if you are wondering how Kedi feels about these interlopers I think he is quite content to spends his day watching the cats from the window or balcony and, despite me leaving the door open a few times, he will not venture outside anytime soon.  I am certain that he is confident in his reign of Lord and Master of this house and it only is with his approval that his scraps are given to those plebs outside.

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Turkish proverb

“If you have killed a cat, you need to build a mosque to be forgiven by God.”