Street cats stay in special shelters with 5-star comfort in eastern Bitlis province's Tatvan district, where temperatures have fallen to minus 10 degrees Celsius. The district's cat house was established by the Animal Rights Federation (HAYTAP) and Tatvan Municipality and employs a group of vets taking care of street cats. The cat house has a 120 square-meter outdoor area and 30 square-meter indoor area. As one of Turkey's most comprehensive cat house projects, the warm environment offers a safe haven for cats "Whenever they want, they can go outside or into the garden," Damla Şahin, a member of HAYTAP, said.
Şahin said that all the cats' needs are met at the house. "While the weather is minus 10 outside, cats stay in a temperature controlled space," Şahin continued, adding that the cats are all treated with special care. In the cat house, there are heaters as well as polar and fiber cushions. Şahin said that they have designed small boxes for them, in which they can feel safe and relaxed. The cat house is regularly cleaned and municipal teams undertake the daily care and treatment of cats. "Although they can play outside, we have created safe play areas for them. Every day, 40 or 50 cats come and go here," Şahin continued. The cat house is situated in an area where four or five streets intersect. "They come here, have food and stay as much as they want. They mostly come when they are sick," Şahin said. Sick street cats are taken to a rehabilitation center run by the municipality. Another HAYTAP member, Ömer Atış, also said that the house saves street cats from cold weather. Mayor Baki Menteş said that the municipality will continue to look after the street cats.
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