Mardin’s Marilyn Monroe dedicates her life to stray animals
A woman living in the eastern province of Mardin and known for her resemblance to American actress Marilyn Monroe says that she spends 90 percent of her earnings on stray animals.
Melek Karahan, 46, who has a cat shelter in Mardin, says, “I dedicate myself to street animals. I take care of them with my own means. I spend 90 percent of my earnings on them; it makes me happy to take care of them.”
Karahan, who has four children and two grandchildren, came to Mardin nine years ago from the western province of Afyonkarahisar. She sells soap and cologne in her six-square-meter shop. Customers are welcomed by lots of cats and dogs in her shop, and they take photos with Karahan.
Stating that animals have become a part of her life, Karahan says: “I have a small shop, and I look after stray animals with all the income I earn from this place. In the last two months, I treated 182 cats and dogs. Animals love me very much, and I love them too. I am here for disabled and needy animals. This is the reason why I am in Mardin. I mostly take care of stray animals, the ones that got into accidents on the streets. I also have paralyzed cats and dogs. Animal lovers know the costs of the clinics. Their expenses never end, but God is helping somehow. I live with them day and night. They all come after me from my cat shelter and spend time with me here in the shop.”
Karahan stated that from time to time, the number of cats exceeds 50 in her cat shelter.
“I release the cats whose treatments are completed back into nature. Kittens are my favorite. I try not to have their mothers neutered as they nurse the incoming kittens. Otherwise, I need to try too hard to bottle feed the babies. People throw newborn cats in the trash. I take care of them and also go to work,” Karahan says.
Stating that she is up with maybe two hours of sleep a day, Karahan says that she also feeds the stray dogs.
“I take meat and bones from butchers in the morning to feed dogs. No animals around me are hungry. I do this without any support. This shop is not for commercial use. This is my little world. I am also dreaming of a shelter for dogs,” she adds.