While wandering in the streets of Turkey you might encounter a lot of cat food in the streets and wonder why there are so many cat foods in various spots. Well, if you haven’t realized the number of cats living in the streets of Turkey until that moment, we have a delightful surprise for you. In every corner you turn, you will see a furry friend wandering around. Because of this, Turkey is like one big cat lady.
Turkish Van Cat
The Turkish Van cat, also known as the "Swimming Cat," has a long and storied history tracing back to the region of Lake Van in Eastern Turkey. Believed to be one of the oldest domestic cat breeds, Turkish Vans are thought to have existed for thousands of years. Their most distinguishing feature is their captivating eyes, which can be blue or amber, or even one of each in some cases. Turkish Vans form strong bonds with their human families and are known to be loyal and affectionate.
Thanks to the internet, more and more people from around the world witness and want to pet our beloved feline friends. There are even some of our famous ones roaming around the internet like Gli and Tombili. They are so famous that they even have their own Wikipedia pages! Both Tombili and Gli exemplify the significance of cats in Turkish culture, capturing the hearts of millions around the world and showcasing the deep connection between cats and the people of Turkey.
Tombili became a star when someone took a photo of him chilling on his neighborhood’s stairs. The butcher of the neighborhood has been feeding him and due to being fed by a butcher he was nicknamed Tombili which means chubby by the locals. His pose became a meme on social media after people commented that he is the epitome of Turkish stray cats. Sadly, after getting sick, Tombili died but he became such an iconic symbol that people who lives in Kadıköy where Tombili was residing started a petition for a statue of him. The statue portrays him in his iconic pose, reminding everyone of his enduring charm and the impact he had on people's lives.
Gli was another one of Turkey’s most famous cats. He was born in Hagia Sophia in 2004 and spent his life there. He became an internet sensation and a symbol of resilience, especially after being photographed and petted by Barack Obama in 2009. When the famous monument Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque in 2020, Gli continued to roam the premises, unfazed by the bustling crowds and media attention. He became a beloved symbol of coexistence between historical landmarks and the animal kingdom. Gli sadly passed away in 2021, but his legacy as a symbol of strength and adaptability lives on.
The cats of Turkey embody a unique blend of history, tradition, and admiration. From the charming street cats wandering the alleyways to the bustling cat cafés that have become social hotspots, these feline companions have woven themselves into the fabric of Turkish society. As they bask in the warmth of the Turkish sun, they continue to captivate the hearts of both locals and visitors, reminding us of the extraordinary bond between humans and animals. So, if you find yourself strolling through the enchanting streets of Turkey, keep an eye out for these magnificent creatures, and perhaps you, too, will be enchanted by their allure. If you do not have the chance to visit just yet, explore our culture through our snacks by getting a box of international Turkish Munchies treats and get a glimpse.
Here are our boxes for you to enjoy and learn about our culture:
For Further Reading: