Being a cat is a lifestyle, and no one can attest to that more than Ayşe Yalçınkaya, who shares her garden with nearly 100 cats whom she deems as her "children."
Yalçınkaya, living in the Tekkeköy district of Samsun, is a mother of four. However, she is also the mother of about 100 cats. She moved to the Kerimbey neighborhood from Istanbul five years ago, where she now lives with her husband and three children.
After moving to Tekkeköy, Yalçınkaya fed stray cats in the district. She would take care of the cats, feed them, take them to the veterinarian, and would bring the sick and needy cats to her garden, giving each one a name. The number of cats increased over time.
Yalçınkaya's neighbors want her to give some cats to an animal shelter, but her heart doesn't let her give up any of the strays she is so fond of.
Yalçınkaya told Anadolu Agency (AA) that she spends all day caring for and feeding the cats.
She noted that the number of cats was never this high before and that the number increased to 100 as they brought cats to the garden, other cats who found their own way into the garden, and the cats in the garden breeding and blessing her with little kittens.
Yalçınkaya said that all her cats had names like "Milka," "Boncuk," "Güllü," "Miya, "Çenesiz," "Tombiş" and that she remembers each one.
"Can a person forget the name of their child? They say to me, 'Don't take care of them, give them away,' but it is not so easy. They say, 'Give them to the shelter, there are too many, there shouldn't be as many cats here, it's (not good) for you as well,' but I can't give them away. Can a person give away their children?"
Yalçınkaya shared that they had cut down on their own needs to look after the cats.
"We provide them cat food, home-cooked meals, but it's difficult. We'd better take care of them if the food was supported."
Yalçınkaya added that they buy 15 to 20 kilograms (33 to 44 pounds) of ready-made food for cats every month and supplement the food with homemade meals and pasta.