The Street Cats of Istanbul

This book of photography of the street cats of Istanbul shows their lives and loves, and the people who love them. The book includes photographs from the streets of Istanbul, a portrait series, and a glimpse into the rescue of seven cats.

Istanbul is a massive, sprawling city of over 12 million people, spread over more than 1000 square miles, half in Europe and half in Asia, straddling the Bosporus strait. It is itself a sea of humanity, rich and poor, young and old.

It is also a city of cats. They are everywhere. No one knows how many there are, but I guess there are millions of them, too. It is well known that the Turks love their cats, and in every neighborhood, there are men and women who feed them, delivering cat food each day to some central spot. Sometimes they even build them little houses.

Some struggle to survive the dogs and disease, while others feast on fish and kibble. Their lives are as varied as those of the people around them.

I began working on this book because I was looking for a subject that I could work on with my girlfriend, something that didn’t involve death, doom and destruction. By the time I was finished taking pictures, she had rescued and adopted Féline, The Smudge, and the five kittens of Eyüp. I grew to love them all.

David Gross is a World Press Photo-award winning photojournalist, formerly based in Istanbul, Turkey, where he lived for six years. He’s usually off looking for a wildfire, hanging out a prison camp, hoping for a disaster, or sleeping off the post-traumatic stress from his last trip. Since he mostly works with war, social justice, and human rights related issues, this book has been a welcome respite from the death, doom and destruction.

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