Another image taken in Turkey, this time of three Van kittens. The Van cats of eastern Turkey have existed in the Lake Van district dating back to medieval times. They are unique in that they have a genetic characteristic being one blue eye and one yellow/green eye. In the late nineteenth century they became a status symbol for royalty, however today their export is banned and fetches fines of up to $50,000.
The following image demonstrates their coloured eyes. Quite intriguing.
Being the cat lover that I am, visiting the shelter run by the University of Van was a highlight for me. Unfortunately, the conditions the cats are kept and bred in are not the best. We saw adult males and females housed in large pens, many of them with multiple wounds from fighting, some of them quite disfigured with missing pieces from their ears.
That particular day did not start off too well for me, I woke up quite ill with a full day of travel ahead to reach the town of Van. I haven’t experienced a tummy bug on any of my travels, and wasn’t happy it was happening in this country. After lunch we arrived at some spectacular waterfalls, well so they tell me – I lay in the foetal position on the bus, which was fortunately parked very close to an ablution block.
A few hours later we arrived in Van. Our guide Mehmet asked me if I wanted to be dropped at the hotel. After the day I had and had thus made it this far, I wasn’t going to miss seeing these cats.
Inside the shelter, a number of females were housed in breeding rooms, and their kittens were isolated in adjacent rooms. These particular three were playing mischievously on the window sill. My view was through a glass panel in the door. My travel companions at this point had ventured outside, but I stayed a little longer and just watched and waited. You could not have set up a better scene. The kitten in the middle, stretching and extending his paw, ready to embark on a bit of mischief. His siblings watching and anticipating from either side, with the beautiful soft light from the (grubby) window illuminated their angelic white fur. Waiting and watching paid off for me in this instance.
My travel companions where constantly teasing me (in jest) whenever I chose to stalk or chase a cat down the street. Each to their own I say! Just recently I had one of my cat images published in Better Digital Magazine to support an article by Nick Melidonis on the Greek Islands. It demonstrates that these furry creatures make up the landscape of any society, whether domesticated or feral.
Just to see the Van cats was a highlight for me, but to come home with one of my favourite photos is a bonus. That said, should this one be parked as a favourite or a keeper?
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