During my time in Turkey I was fortunate to meet many charming people many of whom inspired me and many that I shall never forget; two of those were George & his lovely wife Laura, retired expats who lived in one of the apartments in our block. We used to chat at the pool and exchange book recommendations and as I was fairly new to Turkey they helped me out with advice such as which dolmuş (bus) takes you to Maveshir market and various restaurant recommendations; all very important for a green expat. One day whilst I was sat poolside sunning myself, he beckoned me over and asked me if I liked cats; does the Wizard of Oz like munchkins? I was beyond enchanted when I discovered that the balcony of their apartment was alive with mother cats and kittens. One of the things that I had found the hardest to bear when living in Turkey was the poor animal welfare & cruelty so stumbling across this safe haven for mother cats and kittens filled my day with sunshine.
Like many retirees George & Laura, were living on a budget and as pet food is generally very expensive in Turkey, they fed their house guests a diet of pasta, fish and whatever meat was going cheap in the butchers that week along with donations from friends and neighbours. Street animals have a very hard life in Turkey and it’s common for them to be poisoned, beaten & kicked or have stones thrown at them by children. In our neighbourhood pregnant mother cats soon discovered that George & Laura’s balcony was a protected sanctuary for them to safely deliver their kittens free from predators, harsh weather and cruelty.
So I was delighted when Laura told me that she has begun inviting neighbouring Turkish children over to meet the young cats and kittens in the hope of re-educating the next generation which in turn might improve the lives of street animals. Their obvious delight in discovering the simple pleasures in helping to feed & play with these small mites was a joy to watch. Whilst I know that no one will ever be able to save all of the street animals in George & Laura’s small corner of the world they had without doubt begun to make a huge difference for the precious little lives in their care.
“Teaching children to be kinder to animals today, is our only hope for a kinder world tomorrow”