This year, Turkey has faced a particularly frosty winter. As temperatures began to drop, Tekirdag-based dentist and animal lover Şebnem Ilhan became increasingly concerned for the city’s stray cats. To help the freezing felines, Ilhan came up with an ingenious idea: she would install a ladder leading from the sidewalk to her window, inviting the street-roaming strays into her toasty warm home.
Ilhan, who voluntarily watches over the city’s stray dogs and cats year-round, creatively constructed the site-specific stairway. Measuring 2 meters long, the ladder makes climbing up to the window a breeze for the cats, who Ilhan also feeds and cares for. Though many people wouldn’t even consider offering their private residence to a hoard of hungry strays, Ilhan knew that, without shelter, many of the homeless animals would inevitably suffer. “It is very cold here this winter,” she told Love Meow. “My housekeeper and I are living in the warmth. I was sad and worried about the cats outside.”
Ilhan was happy with her new living arrangements, but she knew that her neighbors may not share her enthusiasm or understand her reasoning. To literally brighten up the situation and preemptively please any unconvinced neighbors, she endearingly decided to decorate the ladder with blossoms and blooms. “I thought if I put some flower pots there, it wouldn’t bother anyone,” she sweetly shared with The Dodo.
Fortunately, the local response to her undertaking has been overwhelmingly positive, and, thanks to the Internet, the whole world is applauding Ilhan’s efforts as well. Still, even with her new status as an animal rights hero, Ilhan remains humble. “I don’t think I have done much at all. I try to make a difference for the animals that I touch and see,” she said. “This world is not just for us people.”