Municipalities mobilize to protect stray cats from winter weather in Istanbul
ISTANBULMunicipalities in Istanbul have started a drive to protect stray cats from heavy snowfall and storms that have lasted for nearly a week and severely affected life in Turkey’s largest city.
Local jurisdictions have increased their sensitivity toward the protection of stray animals, with many of them distributing places for the animals to take shelter during harsh winter conditions while also putting food inside them.
The heavy winter conditions have affected stray animals the most, prompting residents of Istanbul to build shelters for the animals or share their food with them. This year an increase in the projects to protect animals was observed, as many social media users urged municipalities to prevent animals from freezing.
Social media campaigns with images of frozen animals have been launched, urging the authorities to install shelters for the animals.
Other than erecting cat shelters, municipalities have also provided food for shelters built by residents.
Büyükçekmece Municipality erected cat shelters in locations with a large populations of cats exists with the slogan “a cat house for each neighborhood.” Büyükçekmece Mayor Hasan Akgün said the number of cat shelters would be increased if such a demand comes from residents.
Akgün also said a rehabilitation and treatment center with the capacity for a total of 5,000 stray cats was needed.
Bağcılar Municipality has also placed wooden cat shelters at previously determined spots. The shelters were built by people with disabilities in courses organized by the municipality.
Esenler Municipality has placed blue-colored cat shelters in parks all over the district. The municipality also placed water and food dishes inside the shelters, with residents also pitching in to keep the dishes fresh for the cats.
Kadıköy Municipality has also erected cat shelters in parks and neighborhoods complete with food and water cups. In addition, the municipality organized an annual “Stray Cat Festival” where volunteers built cat shelters and installed them in appropriate places.
Children receiving education at the Kadıköy Municipality İsmail Hakkı Tonguç Nursery School also built cat shelters from plastic and cardboards.
Furthermore, some 800,000 cat shelters were distributed in Şişli Municipality last year as part of a project to raise awareness on stray animals’ need for shelter.
Bahçelievler Municipality provides houses for the stray cats and treats them in addition to installing cat shelters to the streets.
The issue attracted recent attention after a local group of reactionaries attacked another group for erecting a cat shelter in Üsküdar. Following the incident, Üsküdar Municipality erected a cat shelter in the same spot.