Animal shelters all around the world are running out of room. One unspayed female cat is capable of producing three litters a year. And with an average of 4 kittens per litter over a lifespan of 15 years, that’s a rough total of 180 kittens that all need to find good homes. It’s no wonder shelters are forced to turn animals away, but a group in Turkey has taken a unique approach to this worldwide problem. They’ve created “Cat Town,” a miniature town in an idyllic setting focused on saving homeless cats and combatting overpopulation.
Take a stroll through Cat Town, and you’ll see brick-lined paths, elevated cat houses, and comfy-looking cat hammocks. There are over 200 cats that call the town home, and they come from all different backgrounds. Best yet, they’re all either spayed or neutered, and they have a safe space to live for the rest of their lives.
Located in Samsun, Turkey, Cat Town takes up 6,200 miles of a beautiful forested area. The Samsun Metropolitan Municipality built the tiny town in an effort to reduce the number of homeless cats both on the city’s streets and in nearby shelters. It’s not much different than a traditional shelter in that all the animals receive veterinary care, regular meals, and they have the chance at being adopted into permanent homes. The differences, of course, are what make Cat Town so unique.
Instead of finding a building large enough to accommodate hundreds of cats, the creators of Cat Town knew they could help more felines by thinking outside the box. It started as an urban shelter for roughly 50 stray cats, but it has since expanded to make room for up to 500 homeless pets. There are even future plans to up that number to 1,000 cats in need.
All cats are welcomed into Cat Town with open arms. If they have health concerns, they receive the care they need before entering the town. They are spayed or neutered, and they also receive a microchip. If they become ill while in the town, Hüseyin Aydin, the shelter vet and manager, takes care of all their needs. There are even special needs cats that receive individualized care.
All 200 cats are free to move and roam as they please within the town’s expansive boundaries. They can choose to bunk up with a friend or two in a large bungalow, or they can live by themselves in one of the private cat houses. They spend their days interacting with both other cats and humans while doing all the things cats do best.
The cats are available for adoption, but they can also live in Cat Town for their entire lives. In the few years that the town has existed, it has helped manage the number of stray cats living on the streets. When a new cat is brought in, it is vetted, spayed/neutered, and introduced to its new home. That’s one less cat left to contribute to the major problem of overpopulation.
Turkey is still far away from completely eliminating stray cats, but their strategy to focus on spay and neuter programs is something that should be happening around the world. Spaying and neutering is the only way to stop the cycle of homeless cats. So whether they live in a miniature town built just for them or in loving homes, cats can have the happy lives they deserve.