Homeless animals are a huge problem in Turkey. Similar to other countries, irresponsible people who no longer want their pets simply dispose of them on the street. As a result, it's difficult to walk down a street here without seeing a stray cat or dog begging for food or lying around in the heat. If you are eating out on the terrace of a restaurant, it's common for a stray cat to brush against your legs and cry for food. The waiters shoo them away by throwing water at them.
Seeing how animals are treated here makes me realise how great of a job our local SPCA's are doing, and it also makes me want to help the situation here. I'm lucky to live in a two bedroom appartment in a building that allows animals. I also happen to work in a Teacher's Unit with a few animal lovers and animal right's activists. One girl in particular is well known in our school for finding strays, bringing them to a local veteranarian who keeps the animals in empty cages until she can find homes for them. But there are not nearly enough empty cages to house all of the street animals. So, foster homes are desperately needed until homes can be found. I decided to volunteer as a foster 'mom' for a cat. On Saturday, I got a little, all-white, green-eyed kitten. She is about 4 months old, and VERY active. Because she spent a couple months of her short life in a cage in a vet's office, she is starved for attention. She runs to me the minute I put the key in the door, and for about the first 15 minutes I am home, I can't get her off of me. She likes to cuddle into my neck, and at the moment she is standing on my shoulder, purring in my ear, occasionally licking or chewing on my ear. I have chosen the Turkish name Ayla for her, which means moonlight.
We are currently looking for a home for my little Ayla. I love having her at my appartment, but the best thing for Ayla would be a nice home, maybe with some nice children to play with (because she is so active), where she can live permanently. Until then, she'll be cuddled up beside me :)