Winter can be brutally cold and in Istanbul, Turkey, temperatures can get close to freezing. To be homeless during this time of year is especially hard as people have to cope with the cold temperatures. But it’s not only homeless humans who struggle; homeless animals are vulnerable too.
January of 2017 was an especially cold month in Istanbul; it was one of the worst cold snaps in Europe. This resulted in stray cats and dogs all over the city seeking shelter wherever possible.
Some animals were lucky enough to be taken in by good samaritans, but others had to find their own refuge. Which just so happened, for many animals, to be the local mall.
Instead of casting the freezing dogs out onto the street, shop owners kindly let them stay and let them make themselves at home.
Three generous strangers provided cardboard mats for the dogs to sleep on and covered them with shawls to keep them warm.
And a women’s clothing store, called Penti, even allowed some dogs to sleep inside the store. It can be seen in the picture that whilst the dogs basked in the warmth of the shop, a customer continued to browse the lingerie. Brilliant!
And dogs weren’t the only animals requiring shelter. Selçuk Bayal, the owner of a cafe and stationary store, allowed 12 cats to take shelter in his store. Despite the potential risks of deterring customers, the kind shop owners put the needs of the animals first and let them stay until they were happy to return outside.
The stray cats of Istanbul are known all over the world, with numbers of stray cats being in the hundreds of thousands. But luckily for cats they are sacred in Turkey due to an ancient story of the prophet Muhammed and his favourite pet cat, so they are more likely to be treated kindly.
Istanbul’s treatment of their stray animals in their time of need is wonderful to see. Hopefully more people will take inspiration from their kindness and provide shelter to freezing animals in the cold winter months.
Do you admire the people who provided safety and shelter for these stray animals? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and share the wonderful story with the world. 🐝