According to the ASPCA, there are millions of stray cats roaming the streets of some of the biggest US cities. Now, most stray cats avoid people, whether that’s because they’re able to feed and fend for themselves or because they’re scared of people based on previous experiences.
Oftentimes, though, stray cats crave human touch, a full belly that comes with the territory, and affection they’re yet to encounter on the streets.
Sure, people don’t shy away from offering the strays a can of tuna or a packet of Meow Mix now and then. But most people see them as dirty, disease-ridden moggies they’d never bring home.
Because of that, stray cats resort to sneaky methods to get the attention of the human that might take them off the streets and bring them home – or anywhere, for that matter.
We’ve heard tales of aplenty of stray cats “adopting” unsuspecting bystanders by hopping on their lap, showing up at their doorstep, or inviting themselves in their car. We’ve seen a myriad of strays making puppy eyes at vendors, shop owners, and innocent bystanders.
What do you do when that happens, though? Most people feed the strays, give them a pat on the back, and walk away. However, some people decide to take on the responsibility of making that stray’s life a little better.
We’re bringing you a story of Leo, a friendly, fun-loving stray cat that walked his way into a woman’s car and refused to leave until she gave him his forever home. Starting from the beginning of the story, Leo was an average stray cat roaming the streets of Ankara, Turkey.
Now, before we move on with the story, we need to underline one detail about Turkish cats. Millions of cats wander the streets of Turkey, but they’re much more respected and appreciated than the cats roaming the US streets.
Ankara, alongside other Turkish cities, possesses a long-standing history of caring for its cats that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. As a matter of fact, the mighty Ottomans worshipped cats because of how smart, strong, and clean they were.
And, as the years went by, cats became an essential part of Turkish culture.
Back to Leo’s story, Leo was roaming around the neighborhood when he caught a whiff of food. He followed the scent and stumbled upon a feast that Burcu Emel, an animal rescuer working for the Çiğdemin Patileri shelter, prepared for the neighborhood cats.
Burcu’s garden was a popular spot for neighborhood cats because she was determined to feed them, bathe them, and take care of them.
Burcu’s shelter didn’t work with cats – Çiğdemin Patileri shelter’s dedicated to neutering, vaccinating, and fostering street dogs. But that didn’t stop Burcu from caring for neighborhood moggies on her own.
When Burcu saw Leo for the first time, she noticed that he wasn’t fond of people. Leo grew up on the street and didn’t know how to behave around humans.
When he stumbled across Burcu’s garden, he didn’t really know what to do. He stared at the food from the neighboring building’s wire, but he couldn’t come up with enough courage to approach Burcu or the cats. He left, but he came back the following day.
He kept coming back, staring at the food, and running away. He was encouraged by other cats, but he wasn’t ready to eat with them.
When hunger took over, though, he approached them, took a bite, and figured out there was nothing to be afraid of. From that moment onward, he became a regular. He opened up to Burcu, too.
Burcu noticed that he wasn’t an average tomcat. He wasn’t aggressive or angry. He didn’t want to fight for food or territory. He wanted to roam around the garden, eat, and hang out with everyone.
Burcu didn’t just feed the cats, though. She worked with other cat enthusiasts to spay/neuter the neighborhood cats, vaccinate them, and treat them before releasing them back to where they found them. She wanted to do the same for Leo, but he seemed to have made other plans.
When Leo became more comfortable around Burcu, he started following her around, rubbing against her, and headbutting her. He craved attention and affection more than he craved food, that’s for sure.
When the temperatures dropped, Leo followed Burcu to her car, hopped on her lap, and started exploring around.
He fell in love with her car, claimed it as his own, and insisted to stay in it whenever she came by. He napped in the car every time Burcu allowed him to get in. He got comfortable around her and he started demanding more and more attention every time.
Burcu knew what was going on – Leo didn’t want to be fed, neutered, and vaccinated, he wanted to be adopted. He wanted a loving home, a forever family, and someone to take care of him for the rest of his life. Burcu knew she needed to do something about that because Leo wouldn’t take no for an answer.
She fostered Leo for a few weeks and found a woman named Yağmur, who was over the moon to become Leo’s mother. She made sure Leo got everything he wanted (and deserved) – the day Leo was adopted was the happiest day ever.
Burcu shared the story of Leo’s adoption on Çiğdemin Patileri shelter’s Instagram page and provided us with an update on Leo’s family life.
Nowadays, Leo doesn’t worry about food or shelter. He’s a happy and healthy kitty that loves to snuggle, roam around the apartment, and munch on paw-licking treats. He’s such a success story and he couldn’t be happier about that. Go, Leo!