If you’ve spent any amount of time in Istanbul, it becomes pretty clear who rules the streets of the sprawling metropolis. No, not the local municipalities. The Mayor? Guess again. Anyone can see that the true sultans of the streets, mosques, parks – well, everywhere really – are the cats, and it’s been that way for a long time. Just like all species they have their quirks, and like all communities they have their unique personalities. Here’s a selection of some of the distinctive types of cat that you’ll probably meet in Istanbul.
The Playful Every-cats
These are one of the most common types of cat you’ll encounter: cute, friendly and affectionate, they love interacting with humans and are generally adorable. They’re the standard feline poster boys and girls for the city.
These have nothing to do with Star Trek but you might find yourself uttering, “Beam me up Scotty” by the time they’re through with you. These cats take affection to the next level, they’re trying to get in your bag, on your head, under your jacket… don’t kneel down because they’ll jump on your back and climb all over you. It’s all a bit intense. To be honest, they just view humans as walking jungle gyms.
The Scaredy Cats
Don’t expect any meaningful interactions with these nervous wrecks… they’re usually gone before you know it, leaving you with nothing but the memory of huge, startled eyes and a blur of fur. However, if you ever manage to win over a scaredy cat, it’s an amazing achievement of Nobel Peace Prize proportions.
This lot live in trash cans and dumpsters. Well, even if they don’t, they look like they do. If you can see beyond the matted fur, they’ll charm you with their tufty, punk-looking hair and non-conformist attitude, not that you’d want to touch them. They give off a Dennis the Menace/Gremlin vibe but are usually just Playful Every-cats and Scaredy Cats in disguise.
These are the funniest. Too scared to approach you even though they clearly want attention, they content themselves with rubbing themselves against walls, cars, the ground, any inanimate objects really, whilst watching you pet other cats. They can really work themselves into a state of bliss just watching you touch another cat… they’d be arrested if they were human.
The Culture Kitties
Found in the grounds of mosques, museums and other historic sites, these fellas are proud of their heritage. Gli, the Aya Sofya’s famous resident cat is a prime example of a Culture Kitty, he acted as an ambassador for Turkey when he met President Obama. Sultanahmet abounds with these wise souls, but they can also be found in other parts of the city lounging on newspapers or book stalls.
The Stalkers will shadow your every move, making you cringe for their safety as you try and cross the street. If they make it as far as your apartment, enjoy your new roommate… for life.
These guys don’t go far from their hoods, usually around the Cat Sarays or Kedi-haneler set up for them in parks. They’re a package deal; give one of them attention and their homies want to get in on the act too, including the little bro kittens. They’ve got each others’ backs but there is room in their hearts for you too, you could even go so far as to say they’re total pussy cats.
Often found posing nonchalantly outside trendy coffee shops and boutiques, the Kitster likes to hang with the hipster community. Sometimes the markings on their fur take the appearance of ironic mustaches and retro bangs. They are up to date on social media from stealing looks at their favourite humans’ phones.
There’s always at least one cat on your street who seems to constantly be pregnant or have new-born kittens. Leaving the house you do a double take when you see the tell-tale baby bulge and feel conflicted because you’re excited by the prospect of new kittens, but mostly you just feel bad for the cat’s relentless cycle of reproduction.
The Sun Worshipers
It’s not that the Sun Worshiper doesn’t like you, it’s just that you’re standing in the way of the sun and there’s nothing he loves more than the sun. Talk about cat on a hot tin roof, hot car roof, hot moped seat… you get the picture. These laid-back kitties can be found luxuriating under golden rays, pet them if you want – just don’t block out the sun!
The Yowlers are vocal, no matter how they feel they’ll be sure to let you know. Don’t stop petting them for one second because they’ll start up again, they also have a habit of standing outside random apartment doors expecting you to let them in if they yell enough.
The Exhibitionists are the cleanest cats on the block and they want you to know it. Generally a friendly bunch, they have the habit of abruptly interrupting chin tickles by hoisting their leg over the back of their neck and licking their unmentionables. Just be flattered that they want to impress you with their kedi yoga moves.
The Secret Psychos
This is a dangerous breed, looking like butter wouldn’t melt, they lure you in with big, expressive eyes and reassuring purrs. Then when your guard is down they strike. Lunging for your arm, they tear chunks out of it, and that’s just the beginning. When you finally escape their grip, they follow you down the street pouncing on your legs and clinging on with a sadistic pleasure that would impress GoT’s Ramsay Bolton.
Zahra Pettican is a contributor for Yabangee. All photos are courtesy of Zahra.
Did we miss any cat personalities? Let us know in the comments!