Millions and millions of cats roam the streets of your country, wherever you are. More often than not, these curious creatures struggle to find food, water, and a forever home – they’re sent to shelters and rescues where they’re put down because nobody wants to adopt them.
Would you believe that there are more than 480 million stray and feral cats scattered across the world, but only around 220 million owned cats?
We were devastated when we figured out that shelters and rescues galore are forced to put down cats and kittens because they’re unable to take care of them due to a lack of space, as well as a lack of people willing to adopt them.
When you take a closer look around your neighborhood, you’re going to notice a myriad of cats that don’t have a home, a place to sleep, or a human to turn to. And, you might help them by feeding them or letting them sleep on your porch.
Additionally, you might contact the shelters and rescues nearby to check whether there’s something to be done. However, that doesn’t seem to be the solution to the problem. Now, certain countries are better at helping homeless cats than others and Turkey happens to be one of them.
Hundreds and hundreds of cats roam the Turkish streets, but they’re far from your average stray cats – Turkish stray cats are viewed as communally-owned cats.
Turkish people take care of them, feed them, and play with them even though they’re on the street. They’re seen as a part of Turkish culture, and they’re respected as such. Turkey possesses a time-honored history of caring for its cats that dates back to the Ottoman Empire, for that matter.
The mighty Ottomans worshipped cats because they were considered clean, smart, and strong. They were considered guardians of the streets because they were protecting them from rat-borne plagues and defending them from mice.
They were a part of the Ottoman Empire and as such, they became a part of Turkish culture. Why are we telling you these things?
We were over the moon when we heard about a group of Turkish people who came up with a unique solution to the worldwide problem of saving homeless cats and combatting overpopulation – to build an entire town for homeless cats.
The Samsun Metropolitan Municipality built the tiny town to alleviate some of the pressure off of the nearby shelters and rescue. With picturesque brick paths, elevated cat houses, and scenic cat hammocks, there’s nothing ordinary about Turkey’s very own Cat Town.
Cat Town’s built over 6,200 miles of a beautiful forested area of Samsun, Turkey.
The Samsun Metropolitan Municipality wanted to come up with something that would house a huge number of cats that shelters and rescues couldn’t. They knew they needed to get creative and that’s when they thought of building an entire miniature town.
Cat Town serves the same purpose as a shelter or a rescue. The staff working at the Cat Town help homeless cats by feeding them, offering them veterinary care, and finding them forever homes.
The town started as a temporary urban shelter for not more than 50 cats. But when the staff started catching onto the fact that the town was working better than the nearby shelters and rescues, they decided to expand the facilities to be able to take more than 500 cats.
Before you say anything, they’re working on making the Cat Town spacious enough to accommodate more than 1000 cats. Cat Town welcomes all cats, too. When we go back to the shelters and rescues we mentioned beforehand, you might be aware that most of them come with strict rules.
Some shelters work with kittens, some with cats with deformities, and some with healthy stray cats. We’re not saying that there’s anything wrong with that, but there’s something commendable about the fact that Cat Town welcomes and cares for all cats.
When a cat comes to Cat Town, she’s checked by a vet, spayed or neutered, chipped, and taken care of. Cats that get sick while they’re staying at Cat Town have veterinary care, too – a veterinarian by the name of Hüseyin Aydin takes care of sick cats and special needs cats.
Cats that are healthy are fed and groomed on a regular, but otherwise, they’re allowed to do whatever they want to do while they’re there. They can roam around the town’s expansive boundaries. They can make friends, opt for big bungalows, and bunk up with them.
They can stay alone and opt for private cat condos. They can hang out with cats, snuggle with humans, or do whatever they’re used to doing – but in better conditions.
Cats from Cat Town are available for adoption, too. You can pick a date to go and hang out with them, meet the manager and the staff, and pick a cat you’d like to go home with. You can donate to the cause and help the Samsun Metropolitan Municipality take care of the cats that way.
Worry not, though, cats that don’t get adopted aren’t put down. They’re allowed to stay there forever, but they’re allowed to leave, too. They’re taken care of, but they’re free to do whatever they want to do.
With the popularity of Cat Town, Turkey started the conversation about getting more creative with solutions to such worldwide problems.
Whether or not other countries follow their lead, Turkey proved that providing housing, spaying, and neutering, as well as taking care of cats diminishes the number of strays roaming the streets. Turkey and the Cat Town might not have completely eliminated stray cats, but they’re getting there.