Cat Alliance of Australia Inc feel this is a good example of cat welfare and management laws set out by the Locan Council.

We would like to point out that we do not agree with cats numbers as we find this has no association with cat welfare or management . 




Stray cats strut Istanbul's streets, a symbol of tradition in a churning metropolis

Published August 23, 2010

Associated Press

ISTANBUL –  ISTANBUL (AP) — When President Obama visited Turkey last year, he paused to stroke a tabby cat at the former Byzantine church of Haghia Sophia while Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan looked on with a smile. The cat, one of half a dozen living at the ancient site, seemed unfazed by the VIP attention.

Many a visitor has noted the abundance of stray cats in the old imperial capital of Istanbul. They amble and lounge around some mosques and have the run of a couple of universities. Facebook campaigns gather supplies for them, and it's easy to spot nibbles and plastic containers of water left discreetly on sidewalks for the felines.

This month, cats will get a publicity boost when the world basketball championships begin in Istanbul and three other Turkish cities. The official mascot is "Bascat," a white cat with one blue eye and one green eye, similar to an unusual breed native to the eastern city of Van.

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. It points to the freewheeling side of a society that seeks entry into the European Union's world of regulation.

Sevgin Akis Roney, an economics professor at Istanbul's Bosphorus University, said the school is so well-known for adopting strays that people leave unwanted cats there, knowing they'll get fed. Cats wander freely into classrooms at the school, perched on a hill over the strait that separates the Asian and European continents.

"We should learn to live with these animals," said Roney, who walks around with cat food for hungry strays.

Turkey introduced an animal protection law in 2004, and state policy is to catch, neuter and release or find a home for street animals. Funds for such projects are limited. Alleged poisoning campaigns by some municipalities, usually targeting dogs, suggest laws are sometimes flouted altogether.

Stray dogs are considered more of a nuisance and sanitation threat than cats, and Islamic tradition — while espousing tolerance for all creatures — labels them unclean. In 1910, Istanbul officials unloaded tens of thousands of stray dogs on an island in the Sea of Marmara, where they starved.

Istanbul experienced an explosion of uncontrolled growth in the second half of the 20th century. Millions of people flooded from the countryside, cramming into cheap, illegal housing called "gecekondu," which means "built overnight" in Turkish. Highways and shopping malls sprouted. That urban sprawl made Istanbul less hospitable for street cats, but pockets of the city kept the tradition of caring for strays — an easy option for Turks who don't want the hassle of a pet at home.

Cats benefit from their association with Islam in Turkey, where the population is mostly Muslim though the laws and political system are secular. A popular saying goes: "If you've killed a cat, you need to build a mosque to be forgiven by God."





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