Travelling around the world, we have definitely encountered our fair share of street animals. All across Central America and in the villages of Bulgaria, we met hundreds (if not thousands) of dogs and cats that live on the street. Most of them were skinny (often with ribs showing) but happy. They found their meals in garbage cans, street gutters, market floors and from the odd caring person that would put out food for them. They weren’t always loved by the people, but they were tolerated. And they were friendly.
In Istanbul, it took us only a few hours to notice the street animal population was a lot bigger than any other we had experienced. Not bigger as in more of them; bigger as in FAT. Really fat. The cats are fat. The dogs are fat. There were no ribs to be seen here. And they don’t get that way from scavenging. We’ve seen taxi drivers share portions of their lunch with them (I’m not talking just the bones here – they saved whole chunks of meat) and people generously sharing a loaf of bread with them.
Meet Pig Dog… getting this fat takes a WHOLE LOT of bread (our Turkish coffee fortune predicted her appearance in our lives… now where’s the giant gerbil?)
If the pudgy pooches and flabby felines aren’t testament enough to Istanbul’s love for its homeless creatures, check this out: