A city where the only rats are for sale

Bob, who got there first by way of Phnom Penh/Bangkok, warned me Istanbul had lots of cats, but he forgot my old rule swiped from a New Yorker cartoon: Always exaggerate — it makes life more interesting. Otherwise I would have been prepared. Cats were literally everywhere. By the second day I was counting (72), and on the last, when we took a ferry over to the last of the Prince‚Äôs Islands, I saw 125 by the time my math hard drive melted down (three hours). Most of them were well-fed and cared for, although I noticed that once I started taking pictures for a Feline Turkey Tumblr, I ignored the ratty-ass ones. Mostly, though, I realized yet again the superiority of cats over dogs — the latter also run wild there, and are fat and healthy, but they need masters; without someone to obey they are sad sacks in fur. Cats, even street cats, always have staff. One night at dinner alone at a sidewalk cafe I ordered the house specialty, minced meat baked into pastry, and could not eat more than a couple of forkfuls because it seemed too close to Alpo. I managed to communicate that I would like to take it with me, with those sorry dogs in mind, but the first two I tried to foist it off on would not touch it. Cats saw a butler coming and hoovered it up.