CATS OF ISTANBUL

 

 

 

Etymologically, the word “cat” may have come down to us from the Latin word “catta,” which has spread to almost all of Europe’s languages.

 

 

Definitely, Istanbul is the city of the cats. You can find them everywhere, in each corner, close to the most well known turistic places or around in the poorest side of the city. 

 

 

With the advent of Islam, the little domestic cat came into its own. One of the best known stories tells of a cat thwarting a poisonous snake that had approached the Prophet Muhammad. In another tale, the prophet found his cat sleeping on the edge of his vest. Instead of shifting the cat, the prophet cut off the portion of the vest that was free and wore it without disturbing the pet. A popular saying goes: "If you've killed a cat, you need to build a mosque to be forgiven by God."

 

 

The special status of stray cats in Istanbul and elsewhere in Turkey reflects a tradition-bound country on the path to modernity. It partly derives from Muslim ideas about tolerance, and an urban elite with Western-style ideas about animal rights.

© 2020 by Pedro Giaquinto 
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