I’m an animal lover, especially dogs. And one thing that I noticed while visiting Istanbul, was the way cats were treated compared to dogs. It makes sense though, being that it is mostly a Muslim country, a religion which holds cats in highest regard. It was the first time for me experiencing this and I found it fascinating!
Many of the stores had cats lingering inside and out, with food and water bowls at their disposal at all times. So coming from a place where it is much more common to see pet dogs walking around, this was definitely different. And to be honest, I only encountered less than five pet dogs being walked by their owners. However, there were many stray dogs on the streets, and larger sized ones at that.
After speaking with a friend who lives in the city, I learned that the city takes certain measures with the stray dogs running around. Measures that are definitely not seen as much here in the states. I was told that the city tags strays and makes sure they get proper shots to avoid disease and also sterilized to avoid reproduction. I found this to be very comforting in knowing that they went to such measures, even though they continue to let the dogs go stray.
Another interesting observation was the way these stray dogs were regarded by the locals. It was as if nobody seemed to mind them being there. But on the other hand, nobody seemed to go out of their way to feed them or give them water. This was quite sad to see.
I was also told that dogs as pets are less common and that having one as a pet was more of a “trendy” thing to do, which struck me as a surprise. And while I didn’t capture a photo, I did see a super adorable bulldog tucked between its owners legs on the front of a moped, wearing a bandana and sunglasses!
Aside from the sightseeing, getting myself immersed in the culture as much as possible is something I love to do when I travel. And learning the little things such as this, always add so much more to my experience!