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Paw-sitivity: Fascinating Story Of Cats in Istanbul

A dazzling destination packed to the brim with ancient monuments, Turkey straddles Asia and Europe. The country is known for a beautiful amalgamation of historic monuments, natural scenery and cultural extravaganza. Tourists from across the world head to this destination to experience its vibrant culture, famous food, and vast history. Besides its famous landmarks, amazing vibes and enriching culture, the capital of Turkey, Istanbul is also known for the ferry felines who can be seen in the streets in large number. If you are amazed by the cats and want to know their interesting connection with Istanbul then you are on the right page. 

There are so many cats in the capital city that sometimes it feels like they are the ones who own the city, and their human counterparts are just visiting. But where did all these cats come from? Let’s go back to the Ottoman Empire to figure out!

Back then, it’s believed the many ships that docked at Constantinople had cats onboard to manage pests such as mice. It is believed that the cats disembarked at the capital and flourished over the years. While in Europe the cats are were associated with witches and the devil, in Ottoman-era Istanbul they were considered pious. 

One of the explanations suggests that cats are considered ritually clean creatures in Islam and it is said that the Prophet Muhammed expressed his fondness of the animal in the hadith (the collected sayings of the prophet). There’s a story that Muhammed cut off the sleeve of his robe, to avoid disturbing a cat who had curled up on it to nap. 

Another story suggests that once a cat named Abu Hurayrah saved Muhammed from a deadly serpent and the prophet blessed the creatures with the ability to always land on their feet in return. The citizens revered cats as they protected the city from rats, who carried diseases such as the plague. In fact, there are many social media pages with amazing pictures of these cats adorning the streets of the city.