Hitchhiking with a cat: The story of Simit

A few months ago, when I was hitchhiking with Lena in Turkey, we picked up a cat. A kitten actually. Along a bus station somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The cutie walked to us while we were eating simit – the Turkish name for something that looks like a bagel – so naturally we named here after this delicious Turkish bread.

Simit did not let go of us, and we didn’t want to let go of Simit either. We asked if she wanted to join us and so the adventure began..

With our little family we hitchhiked to Izmir and all she did was sleeping, purring and being cute. So far so good. Our couchsurfing host was also fine with hosting a kitten, so we could take her inside. I immediately began to research a lot about traveling with a cat. It seemed that, although traveling with a dog was becoming more and more usual, traveling with a cat was not. The only legit information I found was from Roving Snails, a couple who picked up a kitten as well and hitchhiked with it to India (wow!).

Anyway, I found out that we first needed to make a portable litter box to learn her to pie and poop in there when we were inside someones house. I made one from some good old hitchhiking cardboard and Lena got some sand from outside. After some practice it actually worked and the kitten did her thing in the box, and everyone was happy.

She was still adorably cute and preferred to sleep next to one of us at all times.

As good mothers do we bought her special kitten catfood, which was even more expensive then our own food. She definitely liked it and ate lots of it. Proud as we were we started the next challenge: taking the kitty outside with us while exploring the city.

This tented to be a bit more challenging than we thought. While she was mostly cute, sleepy and chilling when inside or hidden in one of our sweaters or scarf in a car – being outside walking around proved to be a bit more difficult.

Cats – especially young ones – like to discover on their own from time to time, which resulted in us walking after the cat instead of the other way around. We bought a collar for her to see how that would work, but Simit didn’t really like the idea of being stuck in between a rope. In the end we decided we couldn’t really try to tame a streetcat if she didn’t wanted to.

A few days, some struggles and a lot of cuteness later we arrived in Cesme, a small village at the Turkish westcoast. Simit loved it immediately and went on exploration. The city is next to the sea and has lots of fishermen, fat streetcats and no cars are allowed in the center. We saw people leaving catfood everywhere and strangers started to feed ‘our’ Simit with some leftover fish. Since the kitty obviously liked the fish and the atmosphere we decided to let her choose if she wanted to continue with us or stay in the town.

She decided to stay.. which meant we had to say goodbye to our cute baby and let her go once and for all..

I am confident she will have a good live in Cesme, as the people are really cat-friendly, there are many other cats around and she already got lots of free food from strangers in the time we were there. Besides, she was born as and will always be a free cat. A free animal living on the streets and not meant to be taken by two fellow free women if she chooses to stay somewhere else this time. As a hitchhiker and independent traveler I can fully understand that.

So that was how the short but cute story of Simit the hitchhiking cat ended. If you find yourself in Cesme at some point of your life, look out for a special and cuddly cat, and who knows it might be Simit!

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2 Responses

  1. Wat leuk, dat jullie zomaar een extra lifter hadden om jullie te vergezellen. Jammer dat ze koos om achter te blijven, maar ze heeft er vast een fijne plek gevonden inmiddels en alsmaar in een auto… dat is ook geen kattenleven :)
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