Episode 17: Cats of Turkey, Izmir
Updated: Feb 10
Companion blog, tips, links, and pics
CATS OF KULTURPARK
Reflecting upon the variety of places and things we experienced during our 7 months of traveling, the memories and time spent with the cats at Kulturpark in Izmir, Turkey stand out.
"It went from why are we even here city to how do I leave them (the cats) behind?"
As mentioned in the Izmir (non-cat) Episode 18, it was a rough start. Originally we had planned for a few days but needed to make some adjustments to accommodate Eric's side hustle. The hotel had a burst pipe and our first room's bathroom floor was flooded with water. In addition, the following evening there was a disturbance outside our room that had me thinking: Did I have to go into survival mode?
After using the logical side of my brain and not the anxiety-driven one, I looked into why we were feeling so flustered. Being on the road and without a permanent home is tough. There are good days and bad days. Upon walking the park and Eric's discovery of the kitten haven, we had just the therapy we needed.
Every day we would visit these kittens and the other cats in the park. With each visit, you can see them recognizing us. We would name a few ones based on their personalities or colorations (Tiny, Spicy, K-bop, Leo, Wonky, Penguin, etc...) Some were sooooooooo tiny but I can see were fighters.
We would get looks now and then from the locals but we didn't care. We fed them, played, and would clean up the areas around them a bit. Each day we would progress in our interactions even making cat toys out what I can scavenge from my luggage and around the park. They were much needed therapy for myself especially at that time.
This city is where Eric truly got his cat education. At first, he was "Look and barely touch" as you can see in one of the pics below. He later advanced to cuddling them and letting them climb all over him. I think he ended up with more pictures of the cats then me. I wanted to spend my time focusing on them, not getting the perfect shot.
On the 2nd or 3rd visit, that is where we met Kasey. We spied her cleaning up, feeding, and checking on the cats. By her appearance we guestimated that she spoke English and she did. We were excited to learn what brought her here and what the situation with the animal care was like.
She educated us on the situation in the park and how she is helping. Eric got to confirm his questions and concerns about the handling of the cats. We learned about her and how she couldn't bare to leave these cats. She turned to social media to bring awareness and in caring for the Kittens of Kulturpark.
With her advocacy for these cats, she is raising awareness that more can be done for animal welfare in Turkey. Although this is Izmir, scenes like the inside one we got to learn about in this park are not unique.
Cats are such an important part of Turkey and its identity that more can be done to ensure the health of the colonies. I would love to see a network of volunteer programs with the support of the government. Focus on spay and neuter programs and even volunteer tourism would make huge strides in this concern.
Live Let Roam Friend Kasey: https://www.tiktok.com/@kaseywho,https://www.instagram.com/akakasey/
Additional links to groups who are working on helping these animals in Turkey. Learn more:
About the authors:
Christy is an artist/creative spirit & blogger/podcaster with a passion for many things especially the arts, nature, and weird things around the world.