Cats of Istanbul
by John Sigma

It is said that Cats know that God exists…

Looking through history books and manuscripts about Islam, many mention the Prophet’s love for felines and while variations on the foregoing stories exist, the overarching affection of the Prophet for cats has been consistent. Islamic lore tells a story about a cat which prevented a poisonous snake that had approached the Prophet Mohammad.

In another tale, the Prophet found his favorite cat, Muezza, sleeping on the edge of his vest. Instead of shifting the feline, the Prophet cut off the portion of the vest that was free and wore it without disturbing the animal.

Islam teaches Muslims to treat cats well and that the cat is a creature to be cherished and loved. Mistreating a cat is regarded as a severe sin in Islam. Religious scholars acknowledge that cats embody the indescribable chaos of the universe.

For all Muslims, the cat is the most respectful creature, but for Istanbulites, it is something more than that. Cats of Istanbul are not strays nor domestic animals. Are unseparated parts of the city’s soul.