Hostel cat on Isla de Ometepe, Nicaragua.

Cats Around the World

Literally just pictures of cats around the world...

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Last year, I went on date to see the movie Kedi at The Music Box here in Chicago. Kedi, in Turkish, simply means “cat,” and the film documents the cats in Istanbul who rule the streets and seem, all at once, to belong to everyone and no one. (You can watch the movie here.)

The documentary hit a sweet spot for me because, well, CATS, but also because I had spent a month of my travels in Istanbul and around Turkey and remembered fondly all of the cats I saw everywhere while there. There were cats in the streets, cats in the museums, cats in the stores, cats in the parks. Cats, cats, cats.

I met a lot of cats on my travels. Some who I only shared a fleeting moment with. Some who I shared my sandwich with. Some who I shared my bed with. Some who I loved so deeply they had me Googling how to export them back home to the US. Some were in Istanbul, yes, but some were somewhere in Asia or Central America or South America. So many cats around the world.

Can I just to travel the world and meet all of the cats? Please? Please? OK, maybe that’s not going to happen any time soon. But, as I sit back here, at home, I can reminisce about all of my time on the road, and all of those long-lost cats that I met on my travels…

Cats at Ephesus in Turkey

Ephesus was an ancient Greek city located just southwest of present-day Selçuk, Turkey. While the UNESCO World Heritage site’s most famous monuments include the Temple of Artemis (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and the Library of Celsus (a theatre capable of holding 25,000 spectators), it’s cutest attraction is the resident cats that wonder the property.


Cats at Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia is a Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal basilica turned imperial mosque turned museum in Istanbul. Though this famous landmark has had many residents through the years, none may be as famous (or adorable) as Gli, The Hagia Sophia cat who makes himself at home in the museum, boldly defying all “do not enter” signs around the property.

Cats inside Hagia Sophia In Istanbul, Turkey.


Cats in a Park in Istanbul, Turkey

Of course, you really can’t go anywhere in Istanbul without running into a cat or twenty. Especially if you’re trying to eat your dinner on a park bench…


Cats in Lima, Peru

But Istanbul isn’t the only place where cats hang out in parks. Parque Central de Miraflores in Lima, Peru was covered in cats as well.


Cat Park in Cali, Colombia

And, OK, so these aren’t real cats. But there was a cat park (Parque El Gato De Tejada) in Cali, Colombia full of larger than life painted cat sculptures. And it was what dreams are made of.


Cats in Darjeeling, India

There were these adorable kittens in a box on the side of the road in Darjeeling, India. I still, sometimes, wonder their fate. We left them there because, what else would we do with them? Maybe they belonged to someone. Maybe someone adopted them. A girl can hope. I think if I saw them now I would have probably taken them all in my backpack, declared them mine, and traveled through India with my own pack of kittens.

Cats at the side of the road in Darjeeling.

Island Cats

While many islands around the world are guarded by dogs, there were some that cats called home. In Gili Trawangan, Indonesia, cats roamed free on the island and, often, would stop at the night market to kindly ask for some food (or steal it when you weren’t looking…).

There was a cat on one of the San Blas Islands in Panama that I met before braving the open seas.

And there were cats on Koh Phi Phi, Thailand who cuddled under my chair as I ate my banana pancakes for breakfast. I think they were just waiting for me to drop a piece.

And there was a cat who lived on Seven Commandos Beach off El Nido, in the Philippines, where I spent a night camping with new friends.


Bar Cats

Cats around the world also love to hang out at bars. Like this cutie who interrupted my date with a Dutch man in Sihanoukville, Cambodia. (Spoiler alert: I ended up liking the cat more than the guy.)

And this cat, who cuddled up to me while I was enjoying an afternoon drink in a bar in Luang Prabang, Laos.

And then there was Ninja, the bucket kitty, in Vang Vieng, Laos, who, well, sat in a bucket at the bars along the river…

Ninja the bucket kitty in Vang Vieng, Laos.


Shop Cats

Or should say “Market Cats”? Just like New York’s famous shop cats, you can find little tienda-dwelling felines all around the world. Of course, in most places, those shops are replaced by markets.

Like this cat, nestled among the eggs, in a market in Bangkok, Thailand.

Cat in a market in Bangkok, Thailand.

And this one, resting on some hats for sale, outside of a shop in Cusco, Peru.

Cat in a market in Cusco, Peru.

Hostel Cats

My favorite cats around the world are hostel cats. Mostly because I can then totally spend a day lying in a hammock with one. Or, if I’m lucky, have them cuddle up to me in my dorm bed.

I’m not even going to lie: I ended up staying in Bigfoot Hostel in Leon, Nicaragua, mostly because I had heard through the traveler grapevine a rumor that there were kittens living in one of the dorm rooms’ lockers. And there totally were.

Most other times, though, the hostel cat came as a pleasant surprise. Like this pretty kitty in Ometepe, Nicaragua.

And these two in Flores, Guatemala.

And this one at the D&D Brewery at Lago de Yojoa, Honduras.

Hostel cat at D&D Brewery at Lago de Yojoa, Honduras.

Hostel cat at D&D Brewery at Lago de Yojoa, Honduras.

And then… there were the hostel cats in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

I had spent a good chunk of my time in Chiang Mai and spent all of that time living at DeeJai Backpackers hostel. Maybe, partially, because they always had a cat.

There was Starfish who was there for a while when I first arrived. He went missing, though, after I left (and no, no I did not steal him.)

And then, later, there were Lek and Mimi, an adorable little pair of kittens.

Mimi was the spunky little orange one who, sadly, was hit by a car and passed away.

And Lek. My adorable sweet little Lek who, when I managed to get a room to myself, would come and sleep on my pillow. Who I would spend all day cuddling with or playing with or letting sleep on my lap as I worked. I might have even looked up how to export a cat from Thailand to the US before I left. But there would have been no time to get the proper shots and documents. And, as much as I considered him my cat, I guess he really wasn’t. So, sadly, he stayed behind in his hostel home. I still miss this kitty fiercely, even years later.

(A few years later I returned to Chiang Mai and found out that he had since gotten sick and passed on…)

Hi, I'm Val. I spent most of my 20s in a standstill, unable to pick which path in life I wanted to take. I wanted the nomadic life of a traveler but also wanted the husband, the condo, and the kitten. Unable to decide which life I wanted more, I did nothing. When I turned 30 I’d had enough of putting my life on hold and decided to start “choosing my figs.” So, I quit my job, bought a one-way ticket to Europe, and traveled for three years. Now I'm back in Chicago, decorating my apartment in all the teal, petting my cats, and planning my next adventure.

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