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  • Writer's pictureYaman


The story of a cat from Burgaz Island from the book "My Pussycats" written by Gülper Refiğ at Kevencioğlu Mansion in the summer of 1988. (The Kevencioğlu Mansion, owned by Halit Refiğ's aunts Hüsnü and Enver Uzunoğlu, burned in the fire of 2003).

In the summer, we were staying in an old mansion shared by several families on the island of Burgaz. Garibe was also coming to the island with us in two summers. The back garden of the mansion is quite large, full of various trees such as figs, loquat, gum tree, vines and honeysuckle. Garibe was very happy in this garden. Because he had the opportunity to make a lot of friends.

Since the kitchens, which are closed for a long time in the winter, start to get festive and lively together with the summer cottages, lucky island cats, who can survive eight months without dying, take advantage of coffee restaurants, coffee litter, sometimes open kitchen windows, every opportunity to take as many shares as possible from a feast that lasts only four months. The buttonholes of those who hang on to the door are bloodied, stupid and revitalized. The night when Garibe did not share our bed, he was breathing in the pines of the pine forest behind the garden. In the evening, while returning from the walk by the sea, we would hear the cat screams coming from that direction.


With us, a beautiful cat in the garden of our friend Ali Mansur was having cubs every summer. They were hiding among the firewood stacked behind the kitchen door, mixing garbage with the family, trying to sneak into the kitchen and steal as much as possible. Three of his four babies in the summer of 83 were tabby, and the fourth was a very different cat. Black and white spots were scattered in her body with extraordinary aesthetics. It resembled cartoon heroes. The whiteness leggings on the front legs were similar to the white boots on the hind legs. He had a nice look with a white apron on his chest, a black and white distinction that divides his nose and mouth symmetrically in two. The wild gaze in his green eyes prompted man to be old with this tiny animal. The huge hairy tail different from his other brothers, the fact that he did not grin at people even when hungry, made him think that he was descended from a noble cat who came and went to the island. We started to come to the garden once in a while and this personality pup attracted our attention. In fact, we occasionally let the Garibe's meals eat thieves until our kitchen. But there was no way we could get close to him. As soon as he saw us, he was throwing himself in the garden like an arrow.

When autumn came, our neighbors returned to their wintry. The stove and light went out in their kitchens. The beautiful smoke mother gathered her cubs and aged to our garden. There was no hope other than us for those in the immediate vicinity. The offspring were trained by their mothers as master thieves. At certain moments when they checked our entrances and exits from certain points, they were silent and agile like a shadow, gliding through wooden stairs and entering the kitchen. In order not to frighten them in the same prudence, we were watching and having fun with their nutrition operation, which they carried out with great seriousness, trying not to show ourselves.

At the end of September, we put Garibe in his basket and returned to the city. When the schools opened, nobody was left in the cottages. Our little family had no other garden to go to. The pier with the fishermen was quite small. Island cats that fail to catch birds and lizards are doomed to starve in winter. As we think of the cats staying on the island, we are at peace in Cihangir; especially the white-booted puppies do not come out of our minds. We looked at it a month later, we said that it would not be like this, let's save one at least rather than spend all the winter uneasy. With a sudden decision, we took Garibe's basket on the island ferry.

The back cover of Gülper Refiğ's My Pussycats Book

The island was quiet and calm. Colorful cats were eagerly waiting at the dock where the fishermen unloaded the net. We bought roasted meat, white cheese and milk from the grocery store and went home. They had not left the garden. They escaped with fear. They waited for us to get away from the food we put on a newspaper on the ground and attacked like crazy. Their mouths were full of food, they were grumbling at each other. We put food in the kitchen and started to wait. The others approached the flock like a marten, and grabbed the food cautiously. He did not dare with white boots. After a few moments, a pair of green eyes flashed in the corner of the kitchen door. Black and white funny nose appeared in the middle. My wife closed the door in one move while eating full, at the same time the tiny creature was three meters high like a bow which had jumped on the curtain. He was trying to scare us by making eerie voices, regardless of his longitudinal poses. It was like a tiny tiger. He had no intention of giving up in the face of danger. After a break-even struggle, we finally managed to defeat him with more effective weapons. We dropped it on the ground with a long spider, wrapped it in a cloth and threw it into the basket.

While he was returning on the ferry, his voice was not breathless. We looked through the holes in the basket, and the truck was shaking under its cover. Fearing that he would be killed, his tiny tongue drooped out of his mouth. We named him Adalı (meaning Islander).

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