KEDi Documents the Lives of Istanbul’s Street Cats

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson
The street cats of Istanbul have a special relationship with the city’s residents. A new documentary, KEDi, follows the lives of seven Turkish tabbies as they interact with humans.

The expression “it’s like herding cats” is a term we often use when describing a situation where bringing people or processes together seems insurmountable. So imagine what documentary film-maker Ceyda Torun experienced while capturing images for her latest documentary, KEDi, in his native Istanbul.

Enchanted by the relationship the street cats have with the city’s residents he decided to track seven of the Turkish tabbies including their unique interactions with the humans that look out for them and ultimately meld the story into a documentary. The end result was almost 80 minutes of beautifully shot feline footage that has aired at over 14 international film festivals with public screenings set to take place throughout North America.

Related: How to Care for Stray Cats

According to Torun, the catalyst to this project was the natural constant the cats bring to the rapidly growing city of Istanbul. “Every year that I returned to the city, I saw it change in ways that made it less and less recognizable, except for the cats; they were the one constant element, becoming synonymous with the city itself and ultimately, embodying its soul.”

Make no mistake, these aren’t trained stand-in’s or stunt doubles but genuine street kits who’ve got a story to be told and a filmmaker to tell it.

There’s tenacious hustler Sari, a yellow tabby with young kittens who has earned the friendship of a local shopkeeper. Then we meet Aslan Parçasi, or “little lion”, who is one lucky boy, earning his keep at a famous fish restaurant for keeping rodents at bay. Bold feline Psikopat is a fearless girl who has earned street creds with the humans while tubby little Duman, has become a regular at an upscale deli where he indulges regularly. Socializer Deniz is well known at the Ferikoy Organic Market, while baby-faced Gamsız is a tough little fighter who charms the humans, and affectionate Bengü is loved by everyone in her ‘hood.

Torun aptly describes the film as her “love letter to the cats and the city”. If you’d like to meet all the cats in KEDi, visit the official website for cities and dates. We’ve also included the trailer to the documentary below:

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

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