By Sezgin Pancar
MERSIN, Turkey (AA) – A “Meow Park” on Turkey's Mediterranean coast has become a major draw for local stray cats, as it provides the felines with safe homes, along with ample food and space to play.
Founded in 2017, the Meow Park has its own unique shelters, bowls with automatically changed fresh water, food that is replenished twice a day, and a natural green area.
The park also provides safety for the cats through its gates that block access to both dogs and humans as well as video surveillance.
Burhanettin Kocamaz, Mersin’s mayor, told Anadolu Agency that any cat seen to be sick or wounded gets immediate treatment from city workers.
“Meow Park is the first of its kind,” said Kocamaz.
“Locals love the cats and so we created a special shelter for them. They all have a way to live comfortably here.”
Describing them as his “fondest friends,” Kocamaz said they hand out some 600 tons of food to stray animals in the city.
“The cats play in the area set aside for them whenever they want. They leave the park whenever they fancy it,” he explained.
“We’re proud to have had a leading role in setting up this park.”
Mehmet Cucuk, who heads the city's vet services, also hailed the interest the project has gotten, saying: “The park creates its own energy via solar power… The cats wander around the shore but come back to the park when it’s time to eat.”
Stressing how the project began with efforts to spread love to the animals, Cucuk said the number of felines at the park now tops 100,000.