By Yavuz Emrah Sever
YALOVA, Turkey (AA) - In northeastern Turkey, a woman has established a kind of menagerie centered around her house, one devoted solely to the care and feeding of dozens and dozens of cats.
Hamide Boran, 52, has lived without human housemates in Yalova, near the shores of the Sea of Marmara, since her husband died six years ago, but she had not been lonely.
For one entire floor of her two-story house is given over to its feline residents, a bursting-to-full pack of 65 cats.
Boran told Anadolu Agency that the cats are very good friends to her.
"My late husband had cancer, we lost him to a brain tumor,” she recalled.
“A cat was resting on his arm until he slipped away, we couldn’t get it to move."
After her husband died, she added, the cat refused to eat or drink anything for three months, and eventually it died as well.
"After that, the cats became my only friends," Boran said.
- Despite doctor, cats come first
She said nobody wanted to rent an apartment to her because of the cats, but at last she was able to let a freestanding house with two floors.
Boran lives on the first floor, while the ground floor is a kitty kingdom.
She lets the cats out, and if they make a mess in other people’s yards, she cleans up after them.
She once worked as a cleaner, but now survives on her modest monthly pension of 350 Turkish liras ($93), with her grown sons helping her cover the food and rent.
As Boran also suffers from lung disease and diabetes, doctors have urged her not to care for so many cats, but she says she can’t help herself.
"The doctor told me, 'You mustn’t let cats near you,' as I suffer from COPD,” or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, she said.
“I sleep with the cats. I can starve, but my cats must have full stomachs."
Boran said some of her feline friends suffer from cancer, are paralyzed, or blind.
She added that she will continue looking after the cats as long as the grace of God allows her.
"They are my sweethearts, my everything. I love them like my own children," Boran said.