Director: Ceyda Torun
Despite trying to be good and rescheduling a session from the previous night I still did not get to bed until quite late the previous night so I kept nodding off during this documentary but hopefully managed to see most of it.
The story covers the cats of Istanbul that do not have owners in the traditional sense more that they are the responsibility of the community and the cats themselves decide who they are going to adopt and they tend to have right of way to come and go as they please.
I have heard of some cats adopting people other than their owners in Australia and people paying the vet bills and looking after other people’s pets but not on this scale where it seems to be part of what is expected to be part of the community.
If you like cats at all I would recommend this documentary as the cats have different personalities such as the “neighbourhood psychopath” who would not let her “husband” have even a tiny grain of cat food. The “milk thief” who turned up to as a tiny kitten on the roof and now rules the roost and a cat that swatted at a customer trying to sit on a chair and now sits by her window with his paw raised until she lets him in.
There are several examples of people feeding carts en masse such as cooking 20kg of chicken per day for a bunch of cats and one man who used feeding stray cats as a method of treatment for his mental illness and now it is his life to look after the cats.
There is also some coverage of why cats are so important in Turkish society including the sewers being built that attracted rats and every house had to get a cat. Also Istanbul being a world shipping hub meant that a lot of cats jumped ship from all over the world and ended up living in the city.
This documentary sold out both its screenings at MIFF and got an encore screening that will probably sell out. Hopefully it will get a local screening in the future or DVD release as it should be very popular.