The queen cat is a familiar figure in this part of Istanbul. For some years locals have done what they can to keep her safe, and have provided her with food and water.
But in recent weeks the cat's mood has changed and she has begun to make a nuisance of herself. Her quarry is men and dogs: she attacks both unreservedly. YouTube footage shows her in action.
Locals claim the cat is normally very calm, and despite her new-found hatred of men and dogs she is still gentle around women and children. Resident Mr Aydin told the Mail Online: 'This is not a wild cat, she's used to people. She crosses here every day, taking food to her kittens, we leave the door open for her.’
A change of heart
One theory put forth by Mr Aydin is that the queen is protecting a recent litter. But he also opines that the cat might have been attacked by either a dog or a man, which has given rise to her overly aggressive nature.
Another resident Beril Gencturk added: ‘I've seen several people kicking it. It usually attacks only males and dogs. Maybe it's had some traumas.’
Locals are planning to have the cat checked over by a vet in the hope of discovering why her temperament has changed from placid to punchy.
Istanbul has alot of cats. Last year the city was reportedly home to over 30,000 strays. One of the reasons for such a huge population is that the Turks oppose euthanasia; another is that most of the city’s stray cats are unneutered.
That being said, Istanbul has a love-hate relationship with the animal. Many of the city’s Muslims consider cats ritually clean, and the Prophet’s fondness for cats cannot be ignored as a major catalyst to the city’s burgeoning population.