Throughout history there have been so many Turkish cats that have marked places, told stories and marked our hearts.
The 10 most famous cats of Turkey: from Gli to Tombili. Cats have been present in Turkey for thousands of years, with evidence of domesticated cats dating back to ancient Egyptian times. In Turkey, cats are commonly kept as pets and can be found in many households. They are also often seen wandering the streets and are considered a part of the country’s culture and history. So let’s find out why cats are so important in Turkey and which ones are the most famous.
Why are cats so important for Turkish people?
Cats have been an important part of Turkish culture and history for many centuries. One possible reason for their significance is that cats have been present in Turkey for thousands of years. They were kept as pets by the ancient Egyptians, and it is believed that the domestication of cats began in the region that is now Turkey.
Another reason for their importance is that cats have played a role in Turkish folklore and mythology. In ancient times, cats were believed to have magical powers and were considered sacred animals. They were thought to protect homes and families from evil spirits, bringing good luck and prosperity. This belief continues to be present today and cats are still considered to bring good luck and prosperity.
Furthermore, stray cats have been a part of the streets of Turkey for centuries and are considered a part of the daily life of many cities and towns. They are often fed by locals and tourists alike and are considered as a symbol of the city. Lastly, in recent years, there has been a growing movement to protect and care for cats, with many animal welfare organizations working to improve the lives of cats in Turkey. This has helped to raise awareness and promote the importance of cats in Turkish culture and society.
In conclusion, they are considered as sacred animals, protectors of homes and bringers of good luck, and their presence in the streets is considered a symbol of the city.
“Gli” was a stray cat who lived inside the Hagia Sophia cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey. The cat became famous due to its presence in the Hagia Sophia before it was converted into a mosque and later into a museum. The cat was often seen wandering around the complex and was considered by many as a good luck charm. Gli was a beloved character in the Hagia Sophia, and many visitors would take pictures with him and post it on social media.
Gli passed away in 2020 at the age of 16, having met and been pet by the likes of U.S. President Barrack Obama, and was mourned by many visitors and locals. He was also honored by the Turkish government with a funeral ceremony, which was attended by many people and his ashes were placed in a special section of the Hagia Sophia Museum.
Gli’s death marked the end of an era, as the cat had been a fixture in the Hagia Sophia for many years and was considered a symbol of the building’s history and cultural heritage. His presence in the Hagia Sophia was a reminder that the building was not only a place of worship but also a place where many lives intersected.
Named after the mythological king of Phrygia, Midas was born with two sets of ears and a defective jaw due to a genetic mutation, but this has not stopped the Turkish cat from becoming an internet sensation with over 336,000 followers on social media.
The Turkish Angora cat, also known as the “Midas cat,” is a unique and rare breed known for its distinctive feature of having two ears. This feline breed originated in the central region of Turkey, where it was highly prized for its beautiful, long, silky coat and playful nature. The Turkish Angora is also known for its intelligence and trainability, making it a popular choice among cat enthusiasts.
This rare genetic mutation is called polydactyl, which means “many fingers” or “many toes” in Greek, but it is also used to describe extra digits or toes in animals and humans. The Turkish Angora’s coat is long and silky, and comes in a variety of colors, including white, black, blue, and red. They are known for their playful and affectionate nature, and are often described as “dog-like” in their loyalty to their owners. They are also known for their intelligence and trainability, and can easily be taught tricks and commands.
Mia the Van cat, a registered national breed in the country, was crowned winner of 2022 “Van Cat Beauty Contest” in the eponymous province, an annual event that recognizes the most beautiful and representative specimens of the breed.
Mia the Van cat is a unique and special breed, known for its striking appearance and gentle nature, known for its distinctive feature of having a white coat with colored markings on the head and tail. The breed is also known for its strong, athletic build and its loving and affectionate nature. They are known to be highly active and playful, and are also known for their intelligence and trainability.
As the winner of the “Van Cat Beauty Contest,” Mia will be considered as a star representative of her breed, and will be an inspiration for cat lovers and breeders around the world.
Nokta rose to notoriety after tricking shoppers of a grocery store located in Kadikoy/Turkey, in the Asian part of Istanbul, into buying treats multiple times a day. Nokta constantly leads the customers to the pet food area. The store manager says that the cat eats ten times a day, and he pretends to be lame and to faint, in order to make the customers buy him food, became famous on social media as a ‘beggar cat’.
The clever feline waits for sympathetic shoppers and starts woefully meowing as they draw near. To add to the effect, the furry swindler sometimes raises one foot and pretends to be lame or often “faints” to get less interested customers to buy him food. Soon after, dozens of customers started visiting the store every day just to see Nokta.
After posting a video he took of the feline on social media, Ozan Göksu said he was surprised when he was suddenly bombarded with comments.
Learly impressed by its skills to fend off men and dogs, a Turkish supermarket chain in the Bayrampaşa district of Istanbul in 2019 has hired a stray cat as a security guard for its store.
The female cat, now named “Bıcır” was adopted by one of the employees of the A101 store and taken to the vet to get its pet care record book and complete its vaccinations. The employees even set up a cat house outside the market to also serve as a guard booth.
It was later established that the cat was pregnant and likely hormonal.
The photograph of 83-year-old Ali Meşe clutching his cat Sarıkız in tears after he accidentally caused an explosion while trying to light his heating stove caused a deep reaction in 2018 in Türkiye and the world. The tragic picture of the man and his cat against the backdrop of his burning home, in fact, pulled at the heartstrings of the public and a campaign was soon launched to rehome the duo.
The photograph shows Ali Meşe crying and holding his beloved cat Sarıkız in his arms, after he accidentally caused an explosion while trying to light his heating stove. CNN shared the photograph, and talk show host Ellen Degeneres posted a video of the photograph on her show which was watched almost 10 million times.
The photograph of Sarıkız and Ali Meşe has been described as a powerful symbol of love and devotion and the comfort and love that pets can provide in times of crisis. Sarıkız has become a symbol of hope and resilience, and has touched the hearts of people all over the world.
Yeşim the cat became world-famous five years ago when videos of her approaching a Turkish butcher like a customer and receiving scraps for free went viral. Although the stray cat passed away four years ago, butcher Ikram Korkmazer keeps her memory alive by continuing to feed local animals from his shop in Manisa, Türkiye.
Yeşim the cat, went missing for a few days before her death; he animal stayed in intensive care for three days and lost its life. The sad butcher noted that the vet told him Yeşim had contracted an infection and they were unable to save her despite all the efforts.
Butcher Korkmazer said that he has been taking care of Yeşim for the past five years and had a “special bond” with the cat. “It was like as if it used to talk to me and would respond back when I told it something. For me, it was no different than a human,” Korkmazer said.
Yeşim’s video went viral after a customer took a video of the butcher and his adopted cat inside their shop in the province of Manisa. The video recorded by one of Korkmazer’s customers quickly went viral all around the world after Korkmaz himself and a local animal charity shared it on social media. The video racked up 3 billion views.
Yesim’s popularity led to her becoming the face of several cat-related products, such as clothing and accessories, and she has been featured in magazines and on television shows.
The mosque cats
Koçak, an imam in northwestern Türkiye’s, assigned to a mosque in Kırklareli province’s Ahmetçe village seven years ago, took in a litter of motherless kittens he found trembling in the courtyard one winter. The village mosque in northwestern Turkey is now home to stray cats seeking a cozy, warm place amid falling temperatures.
“Every creature has a right to life. The winter is harsh here especially for animals and we are trying to help cats in the village against the cold weather,” Koçak told. “Our care and love for animals stem from sympathy and affection our Prophet showed towards animals as we witnessed from his Hadiths. They are living beings like humans and Allah calls them His “mute servants.” They cannot speak but we understand their plights. We know they are hungry, thirsty and need a warm a place. We are doing what every person with conscience should do,” he said.
Koçak dismisses the myth that the cats are ungrateful and says they are very loyal to people. “They love being around people during congregational prayers. It is mutual. When you show your love, they show theirs,” he said. Koçak and villagers buy food for cats and local non-profit organizations also started delivering food for animals when they heard about cats’ story.
Lollipop is a well-traveled calico cat who joined the crew of an Istanbul ship at birth and has lived aboard ever since. The feline has had the opportunity to see many different regions, such as the Black Sea provinces of Trabzon and Zonguldak, as well as the western province of Tekirdağ.
According to the chief officer of the ship, Mahsun Arslan, Lolipop is not just a pet but a mate and a friend to the crew. He said that thanks to Lollipop, the crew does not get bored on the ship and they spend the day playing with it.
Her unique lifestyle and well-traveled background have caught the attention of many and she has become a beloved companion to the crew. Her ability to adapt and make the ship her home serves as a reminder of the resilience and adaptability of cats.
“He is our mate, friend. Thanks to him we do not get bored on the ship. We spend the day playing with it,” said Chief Officer Mahsun Arslan.
Tombili was a beloved cat who lived in Istanbul, Turkey. He became famous for his habit of lounging on a street corner, where he would often be seen relaxing in a relaxed position, with one paw tucked under his body. This habit of his led to him being referred to as “Tombili the lazy cat” by locals.
Tombili (meaning “chubby one”) rose to stardom thanks to a photograph of her nonchalantly reclining on the pavement in the Kadıköy neighborhood of Istanbul. Tombili’s relaxed posture and calm demeanor made him a popular sight in the neighborhood, and he quickly became a beloved figure among the residents of Istanbul. Many people would stop by to take a picture with him or to give him a scratch behind the ears.
Tombili passed away in 2016 and a statue was erected of the feline in her famous pose later that year. At one point the statue was briefly stolen, prompting international alarm and messages of concern from the Russian Embassy.
Tombili’s legacy continues to live on through social media, where many people continue to share pictures and stories of their encounters with him. He is remembered as a friendly and relaxed cat who brought joy to the lives of those around him.
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