In our November issue there was a story on the Catmerons’ Cat Colony in Istanbul, Turkey. Donald and Renee arranged for a carpenter to make the Catmerons a cat house which has been lined with straw to protect them from the harsh winter months. Kitty Jules Verne has inspected the accommodation which he has found to be very snug and comfortable and has settled in very well on the top floor (see photos on next page). Thank you Donald and Renee for making the Catmerons a cosy place for the winter. We salute you for your kindness and compassion in caring for the cat colony.
Story by Donald and Renee:
Our wonderful cathouse arrived! It has 5 different compartments (catpartments!), and windows so they can look out (and we can look in!). We filled it with straw for insulation, and spritzed it with catnip spray to encourage the more timid kitties to check it out. The house proved a big hit with the street cats, especially during the snowy winter weeks. Sadly though, we have had a mixed response from the humans. We had numerous incidents of vandalism, with doors being kicked until the hinges were broken, and a perspex window being kicked in. We paid the carpenters to make repairs, and other cat-loving residents have vowed to keep an eye out for the culprits, so hopefully there’ll be no more vandalism. But we have been encouraged that most of the neighbourhood smile as they walk past and respect the cats’ need for a safe place.
At the end of December, Istanbul was covered in snow. We made an effort to feed the Catmerons (our beloved street cats!) more than usual, making 3-4 trips a day outside in the heavy snowfall. Rather than feeding them in our one usual location, we wandered around the streets to all the different hiding places, as some cats were hesitant to leave their warm spots. On New Year’s Eve, Donald was working and while Renee was feeding the colony, one of our favourite Catmerons, Moo Moo, kept begging to be picked up so her feet wouldn’t be cold in the snow. Moo Moo had once been taken in by a neighbour, who returned her back to the streets when he left the country. Ever since returning outdoors, she had been extraordinarily clingy and anxious for affection. Renee couldn’t help it – she went to the apartment, got a cat carrier and went back out to the snow for Moo Moo. The next moments were hilarious – Moo Moo of course did not want to enter the carrier but instead insisted that Renee held her in her arms. So up the stairs we went, Renee carrying an empty carrier in one arm, and a big fluffy Moo Moo in the other! Pamuk was horrified to see a dirty intruder being brought into her palace. Apparently she had completely forgotten her own roots and had become a spoilt princess!
However it seemed that Moo Moo was very lethargic and unwell – she had awfully bad breath and just seemed off. We took her to the vet for a check-up and discovered she had stomatitis (painful oral inflammation). She was at the vet for several days for treatment, but recovered well and was soon back home.
Over the period of about a week, Pamuk started to see the benefits of having Moo Moo around. She was never alone, there was always someone to play with, and there was extra food to steal! Now it seems the two cats have formed a pact to keep an eye out for each other. For instance, Pamuk will steal food from the counter, and share it with Moo Moo on the ground. The other day, Pamuk was meant to be locked safely away in the kitchen, while the front door was open for the delivery man (since she always tries to go exploring in the stairwell). Of course, Moo Moo decided it was her duty to bust Pamuk out, and next thing we knew, Moo Moo had opened the kitchen door for Pamuk to escape!
Moo Moo has been a delightful addition to the household. She’s extremely talkative, meowing and trilling all the time. She loves being an indoor cat and enjoys playing, especially with pom poms and balls with bells inside. Pamuk and Moo Moo get along wonderfully (though, like any siblings, they have the occasional quarrel). Their favourite shared pastimes include staring out onto the balcony together, taking turns to chase each other, and hiding either side of a door to bat each other’s paws. Having Moo Moo join the family has really filled our home with double the joy.
To follow our cat colony adventures, you can visit our Instagram account, ortakoy.kitties