The Forgotten Cats of Avsallar, Turkey


VOKRA Presents a Special Segment highlighting rescue efforts from around the world: The Forgotten Cats of Avsallar, Turkey

VOKRA is pleased to assist friend of cats, and selfless rescuer, Sara Ahmadi in her efforts to give five cats she rescued from the streets of Turkey a second chance at life.
After hearing about the dire situation Turkey street cats face every day with neglect, starvation, and even regular abuse from locals, Sara travelled from her home in Vancouver to join her friend in the heartbreaking task of feeding, loving, and providing medical care to the cats and dogs of Avsallar, a costal resort town popular with tourists. Sara was there for a month, and after “many sleepless nights, constant stress, and endless tears” was able to raise the two thousand dollars needed to organize an adoption trip back to her home in Canada with five very lucky cats.
The five cats are now ready for adoption, and their personal stories and photos are below.

Please fill out a VOKRA adoption application if you are interested in adopting Chanel, Fistik, Mimi, Ballerina or Madonna.

If you have questions about the cats, please contact Sara at:

This is Sara’s story:

My dear friend, Manuela Wroblewski, who is originally from Germany has been living in Avsallar, Turkey for the last two years for one reason; street animals. She spends each day walking the streets of Avsallar feeding over a hundred street dogs and cats all of which are starving for both food and human contact.

When I became aware of her situation, I decided to travel to Turkey and join her daily struggle to help the forgotten street animals of Avsallar. As soon as I arrived, Manuela and I started the daily feeding walk. Each day, we walked for up to 6 hours feeding and spending time with each dog and cat we saw. The situation was much worse than I ever could have imagined and the photos I had previously seen online did not come close to the real nightmare that the animals face each day of their lives.

We were both terrified to leave her apartment each morning because we never knew what we would see during our feeding walk. Injured dogs and cats, locals kicking and throwing stones at animals and ones that had already tragically lost their lives overnight had all become what we expected to see each day as we walked through the town in what felt like a nightmare that we could not wake up from.

I spent almost a month in Turkey trying to help Manuela and the unfortunate street animals in any way that I possibly could. Any dog or cat that remains on the streets has a race against time and a guaranteed death sentence. I decided to bring back five cats that would have otherwise had no chance for survival and were on the top of our priority list.

A special thanks to my employer, Hastings Veterinary Hospital, for a generous donation of $500 toward the medical and travel expenses for the cats and for the excellent care of these precious girls since landing in Vancouver on May 3rd, 2012. All cats have been spayed, microchipped, vaccinated, dewormed and have tested negative for both FIV and Leukemia.

At the Istanbul airport waiting for my flight. These 5 precious girls will never have to fear for their lives again.

These 5 Turkish street cats who now have a second chance at life:


At Hastings Veterinary Hospital for an examination after arrival

This beautiful kitty now named “Chanel” spent her entire life on the streets of Avsallar directly in front of a hotel and busy road. Manuela and I often found her in the garbage, bushes and trees in front of the hotel. A local man had captured all of the other cats in the area and had thrown them into a canyon. Chanel was one of the only cats from that location to survive. If she were still on the streets, she would have had no chance.

Chanel is understandably still fearful of people and will require a patient and loving home that is willing to spend a lot of time teaching her to trust. She has started to make progress in the last few weeks and will allow me to pet her each night before she falls asleep. She has also started to play with her toys and is no longer constantly hiding. It is clear that she has had a really hard life on the streets and will need some time to understand that she will no longer be abused. She still cowers when I try to pet her but is slowly learning to trust me and has even started to purr for the first time since I have known her.

Chanel will do great in a home with another friendly and playful kitty. She tolerates dogs and may get more used to them over time. She would also do best in a home without young children.
To adopt Chanel, please fill out a VOKRA adoption application.

Manuela and I feeding Chanel on the streets near her territory.

Chanel relaxing on a cat bed for the first time in her life.


“Fistik” has had a terrifying start to her young life. She was left in front of the veterinary hospital door to die overnight COVERED in blood with a broken pelvis and two broken legs. As a result, she had to spend four months of her young life in a crate receiving treatment for her injuries. If Fistik was not given this chance to return to Vancouver with me, the veterinarian would have had no choice but to release her back on to the streets once she had recovered.

She has now fully healed and is ready for a loving forever home where she can make up for all of the time she has lost and be a kitten again. She is such a friendly and loving girl despite her traumatic past.

Fistik is so easy going and loves each day of her new life. She loves to cuddle at night and spends the day playing with her toys and exploring her foster home. She has started to play with Ballerina and would love to be adopted with her or into a home with another friendly and playful cat. She tolerates dogs and may even grow to like them over time.
To adopt Fistik, please fill out a VOKRA adoption application.

Fistik spent 4 months of her life in this crate recovering from her injuries.

Fistik patiently waiting for a forever home that will give her the life that she so deserves!


Mimi relaxing on the bed in her foster home purring her heart away.

Mimi used to live in the bushes directly in front of a busy highway and waited for food each day. As soon as she saw us, she would come out of the bushes and onto the sidewalk to eat. When it was time for Manuela and I to leave, we would pick her up and put her back on the other side of the bushes and hope that she would make it through another night.

The day that we took Mimi off of the streets, we had already picked another cat for Vancouver and were on our way to find her. Unfortunately, that cat was nowhere to be found. When we saw Mimi the same day, we noticed that she was limping and decided to take her to the veterinary hospital. Manuela and I then decided that she would be # 5 as she would have no chance at all if released back into her dangerous territory.

Mimi flew in cabin with me all the way from Turkey to Vancouver which took almost 24 hours. She was a perfect angel and everyone on each plane immediately fell in love with her. She loves to be held because she feels safe for the first time in her life. She purrs nonstop as soon as she is talked to or stroked. She loves to cuddle and sleep next to me each night. Mimi is truly a perfect cat and deserves a perfect home.

She will do well in a home with other animals but will require some time to get adjusted to her new life. She would also be good in a home as the only cat as long as her forever family can spoil her with a lot of toys, treats, attention and love. To adopt Mimi, please fill out a VOKRA adoption application.

Mimi on the bus on the way to the veterinary hospital in Turkey the day that we took her off of the streets.


Ballerina playing with a toy for the first time in her life.

“Ballerina” had to spend two months of her life in the veterinary hospital in Turkey receiving treatment for an injury to one of her back legs. She was left at the door of the hospital overnight and was missing skin right up to the bone. She was unable to use or feel her leg. Ballerina was in the same situation as Fistik and would have had to be released back on to the streets once she improved and as a result, Manuela and I decided that she should be one of the cats to return to Vancouver with me.

Ballerina is continuing her treatment at my work Hastings Veterinary Hospital. Although she has shown some improvement, she will has just had her leg amputated and will need to begin recovery before being adopted into a loving forever home. She will stay in her foster home until she has fully recovered. We have also discovered that Ballerina has a pellet in her body due to being shot in the past.

After everything she has been though, she is still such a loving girl. She would love to be adopted with Fistik or into a home with another friendly and playful cat. She does not like dogs but should get used to them over time. Her new forever home should be accepting of her disability and be able to give her extra love and care for the rest of her life. She is so special and truly deserves the world. To adopt Ballerina, please fill out a VOKRA adoption application.

Ballerina in the veterinary hospital in Turkey receiving treatment for her injured leg.

She is such a sweet and grateful girl.


Madonna off of the streets and safe in her foster home.

This lovely little girl now named Madonna has spent her entire life on the streets. She is a few years old according to the veterinarian and is one of the forgotten cats of Avsallar who was left to starve to death once the hotels in the area closed down after the tourist season had ended. She lived directly next to a busy highway where many cats are regularly hit by cars and left to die. Manuela had been feeding her for months and one day, we went to her small territory to feed her and noticed that the hotel staff had started construction in her area. We did not see her for several days and began to worry that she had been “removed”. We continued to look for her each day and she suddenly appeared near her territory four days later, hungry as ever. We knew at that point that if we left her on the streets, she would not survive.

During her examination with the veterinarian, he noticed that she appears to have had an old injury on her tail that caused her skin to be torn off. It has since scarred over but she is still missing fur on the area. It is unknown whether she was hit by a car or abused by locals.

Madonna needs a loving home where she can feel safe and begin to trust people for the first time in her life. She will do best in a home without children or other dogs and cats. Madonna is still very fearful and will not come out of my room. She has made progress over the last few weeks and will allow me to pet her. She shows affection by rubbing her head on my hand and has the sweetest voice you will ever hear. She is a very smart girl and loves her treats! She is the first to run up to me when she hears the treat bag open. She has not started to play with toys yet but I have witnessed her playing with her own tail a few times. She is absolutely precious and deserves to relax for the rest of her life after having such a difficult life on the streets.

To adopt Madonna, please fill out a VOKRA adoption application.

Manuela and I feeding Madonna in the streets near her territory.

To adopt any of these beautiful cats, please go to and fill out the application at

More photos from Sara’s trip:

All cats in the photos below remain in Turkey and are not up for adoption. They illustrate how the five cats lived out their day-to-day life in Avsallar.

Manuela and I feeding a few street cats.

Starving cats searching for food in the garbage.

She is only a kitten and spends each day of her life hiding in the bushes waiting for food. She is extremely fearful of people after having so many bad experiences.

A kitten only a few weeks old, born into a life of hell on the streets.

Four fearful kittens that waited for food each day. One has been hit by a car and died, one is missing and the other two will face the same fate. They are lucky to make it through the night and each day is truly a nightmare.

If you have questions about the cats, please contact Sara at:

Posted by Grino on June 4, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

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