Street dogs and cats in Kusadasi

About the street dogs and cats in Kusadasi

feeding stray animals
feeding stray animals

During my summer vacation, one of the first things that struck me were the large numbers of street dogs and cats on the street. Especially in the hotel gardens and near restaurants. Most of them were cute, especially the kittens and the puppies. I could never resist the temptation to feed the stray animals. And many tourists felt the same.

I overheard some comments: “Those little creatures do not come short of food here” or “Those animals eat better than us”. In the busy summer months that might sometimes be true but what happens and after the summer?



A paradise in summer time, a hell in winter time

empty streets in winter time

Because there is relatively a large amount of food, most kittens and puppies survive. Certainly it is sometimes a paradise for the animals in hotels in the summer.

But did you know that Kusadasi and most other tourist places are very different after the holiday season?
The tourists leave, most people with a holiday home also leave. By far the majority of hotels and guesthouses are closed. Many restaurants are not open in the off season.

For many stray animals, now paradise turns into a hell.




What is the result?

cats are looking for food in trash container
cats are looking for food in trash container

Outside the tourist season the stray dogs and cats depend on the few remaining people that are still feeding, and what they can still find in the rubbish bins. As far as the garbage containers are concerned, the cats have the advantage over the dogs that can not jump into those.
Because there are fewer people, there is of course also much less food to be found in waste containers. Sometimes nothing at all.
Did you know that there are many residential areas where hardly anyone lives in the winter?


sick and hungry kitten
I wish I was not born at all

Therefore in winter it is much more difficult for stray animals to find any food.
After only a few weeks, the kittens and puppies do no longer look so cute anymore, but skinny and sick. Often flea infested, worms in their bellies and with inflamed eyes and wounds.

The stray animals are nobody’s and far too few people care about them.




What can you do about it as a toerist?

sick and hungry puppy
Now I am not so cute anymore

If you are only here for a few weeks for vacation, the possibilities for helping are somewhat limited. Adopting animals is possible but it is a process that takes months.

Because so many animals die miserably, preventing that they are born, is actually the best. This through sterilization and castration. Although the costs here in Turkey are significantly lower (about 4x cheaper than in the Netherlands), it still costs money. Many Turkish people can not afford it.

Fortunately, there are animal charities such as Animal Rescue Kusadasi consisting of volunteers, who do their best to alleviate the suffering of the animals. Where necessary, medical assistance is given and animals that come under our care are sterilized or neutered when they are nursed back to health.

As long as it is financially feasible, we neuter and spay stray animals to help limit the growth of the stray population. If you have been here before and seen the quantity, you will understand that a lot of money is needed. Given the number of strays there is always too little money.
That is why your donation is desperately needed!



Animal Adoption

adopt or foster an animalAnimal Adoption

If there are any cats or dogs that need a new home we will post that here and on our Facebook Group. Animal adoption or fostering is one of the most rewarding things you can do; the animals are so grateful!


Also requests for fostering will be published. Fostering means temporary take care for an animal. For example to recuperate from a surgery.

So if you are will to adopt a street cat, adopt a stray dog or foster an animal visit this page or our Facebook Group regularly.



Why help is needed for the stray cats and dogs

If you see the pictures no further explanation is needed.

Although many Turkish people are also animal lovers many, unlike citizens in most European countries, often they do not have the funds for neutering, spaying and even medical care.

That is why there are so many stray cats and dogs and the number is increasing every year.



Some municipalities are performing neutering and spaying but due to the large number of animals it is like carrying water to the sea. Many owners unfortunately believe that neutering and spaying their dog or cat is unnatural and harms their animal.

The best way to help an animal is to prevent it being born.

Read more about spaying and neutering —>

The story of tiny kitten Tilly

another kitten rescued

Another Kitten Stole our Hearts

When our darling three-legged Disabled Danyel (nick-named Üç) drowned in our site pool at the beginning of the year, part of us died with him. He was so very loved that we vowed we’d never again allow a kitten to capture and break our hearts.

A year ago we’d agreed to offer respite care to Papatya, the wildest cat ever, our feisty, untouchable, spitting, yowling, clawing house-guest for 9 months, until we were eventually able to entice her outside, where she’s now our ‘on-the-back-garden-table’ cat . . . who reinforced our pledge never to take in another feline . . .

However, three months ago a neighbour knocked on my door. She’d rescued a tiny kitten, a road traffic accident victim, who’d been abandoned in the gutter with a broken pelvis and paralysed hind paw. She’d paid the vet fees but needed somebody to care for kitty, as she was returning to Ankara and her father was allergic to cats.

Initially I refused . . . but when our neighbour said that if I didn’t take her, the kitten would be taken to the dogs shelter, how could I possibly say ‘no’?

We massaged Tilly’s paralysed paw every day and took her to the vet for daily painkilling and vitamin injections . . . but after two weeks her hip didn’t seem to be improving. Luckily my granddaughter Gigi came to visit – she’s studying to be a vet at London RVC . . . and she said that although it was unlikely to be possible in Turkey, as she was aware that in the UK it was a very expensive operation, the best possible option would be to have the pelvis pinned.

I mentioned this to the vet, who suggested that vet Nevzat might be able to help us, as he had funding available from a German animal charity.

After x-raying the kitten Nevzat was hesitant – Tilly was tiny . . . would she survive the anaesthetic . . . would the pinning work? But nevertheless, although he couldn’t guarantee success, Nevzat was willing to give it a go.

Amazingly Tilly quickly recovered and post-operation was able to walk, although with a strange gait, with gammy rear leg sometimes hooked over the good one. And her foot remained paralysed so she was placing the back of her paw, not the pads, on the ground.

We wondered whether Tilly’s paw could be persuaded to turn by being splinted . . . and this is exactly what Nevzat did. Despite her stiff back leg and ungainly collar, which prevented her from loosening the dressing, Tilly was as curious, naughty and hungry as a kitten should be. She would spend many hours sitting at the flyscreened door gazing out at the other kitts playing in the garden, desperate to join them and make friends.

After a couple of weeks (it’s truly amazing how rapidly kittens heal) the bandages and collar came off – and after a short recuperation Tilly started walking, then running, with a stiff back leg but initially on tippy toes and eventually with her pads on the ground.

I was approached the following day by an angel named Özden, who offered Tilly a forever home. Özden’s own dearly beloved calico cat had recently died, the victim of a road traffic accident. I was reluctant at first to let Tilly go – she had become one of the family – but when I met Özden I realised that she would give her a good home.

I’ve since visited Sisi, as she is now called, and I’m amazed how well she’s progressed. She runs, jumps and she’s developing normally. All thanks to vet Nevzat’s skill and care.

And Sisi has a friend . . . Özden’s other cat, Boncuk, who accepted her immediately without problem. They get on very well – playing and cuddling up together – a purrfect ending.

what a happy end for Tilly the cat


Animal Rescue Kuşadası, Kuşadası Hayvan Kurtama Derneği


Animal Rescue Kuşadası, ARK, is an association legally registered in Aydın as Kuşadası Hayvan Kurtarma Derneği, registration number 09.021.148. The registration document can be seen by any member of the public on request and will always be available for inspection at any ARK function.

The Association is governed by Turkish law and by the specific rules laid down in the tüzük (regulations) document issued on registration. A copy of the tüzük is available on request.

Membership is open to anyone over the age of 18 and resident in Turkey by completion of the regulation application form and approval by officers of the Association. Membership of ARK related social media groups does not confer membership of the Association.

The Association is managed by a board or committee elected by the registered members in an open meeting. The committee meets at least once, usually twice, every month to review progress, plan for the future, to examine the accounts and to ensure that the Association’s business is run in accordance with the law and the tüzük.

The Association exists to provide care and veterinary treatment for sick and injured street animals in the administrative district of Kuşadası. Whenever possible, once an animal has been restored to health and neutered, attempts will be made to find it a permanent home, if this is unsuccessful the animal will be returned to where it was found. Young animals will be given a full course of vaccinations before release or adoption.

If necessary, during prolonged treatment or post operative care, the animal may be placed with temporary foster carers and ARK will pay essential care costs.

Responsibility for veterinary care ends when an animal is released or one month after adoption.
When funds allow, ARK will also pay for the neutering of street animals taken by members of the public to one of our nominated veterinary clinics and will also pay for any other treatment deemed necessary by the vet on examination of the animal. After neutering and other treatment the animal will be returned to where it was found.

ARK may, at the discretion of the committee, pay for the neutering of the mother and offspring of litters of street animals.

ARK does not operate a sanctuary, refuge or shelter and cannot guarantee immediate aid. Physical help is always subject to the availability of members and supporters. ARK cannot support domestic pets and cannot operate outside its designated area.

Members of the public can ask for help or offer animals for adoption on ARK’s social media pages but respondents must agree terms with the advertiser. ARK cannot take any responsibility for such private arrangements.

For this we need your help. Membership is open for all. Please join our Facebook group

ARK on Facebook



Current status of Animal Rescue Kusadasi (ARK)

The association will be run by a committee answerable to the members and will hold regular meetings and publish accounts of its finances and activities. We will be totally open, transparent and accountable, decisions will be made by consensus in a democratic manner. We hope to co-operate and collaborate with like minded organisations in the region and have joint activities.

ARK will maintain communications through this group, an association Facebook group, this web site and public meetings. We have submitted our proposed Articles of Association, in which we have listed our intended welfare and fundraising activities to the authorities. As soon as they have been recently approved we will publish them with an English translation.

Structure of our animal welfare charity

At the General Meeting on 26 May 2018 a board consisting of 10 main Board Members and 6 Officers has been elected by our members .
Membership is open to all; the officers must be approved by the members and must be resident in Turkey, the president and accountant must be Turkish citizens. Members who are not officers may be committee members.

How can you support Animal Rescue Kusadasi

You can help us by: joining the association, by making donations (money or goods), by feeding and helping street animals yourself, attending fundraising events, assisting with transport, foster care or manning the help line and spreading the word. Of course, before we can start the welfare work to a significant degree we need to raise funds.