[Vision2020] This kitten was found discarded in a trash can halfway around the world. Now she lives like a queen in Boston.

Tom Hansen thansen at moscow.com
Thu Mar 24 12:19:45 PDT 2022

Courtesy of the Boston Globe at:


This kitten was found discarded in a trash can halfway around the world. Now she lives like a queen in Boston.
It’s been a long journey for a very lucky feline from Turkey.

On the face of it, this is a story about a kitten barely old enough to open its eyes or walk. A wisp of a thing with matted and dirty fur that was discarded like a candy wrapper or a bit of stale bread in a trash can on an island off the coast of Turkey.

But for the local family that pulled the tiny, hungry, 2-week-old feline from the garbage, nursed it to health, and managed to bring it to the United States, the story is also about those who stepped in and helped make the kitten’s journey to Boston possible.

“This is really about humanity and kindness.” said Sennur Cinar, wiping a tear away from her eye in the dining room of her Jamaica Plain home. “It goes to show that there really are good people, wonderful people. It helps me believe that there is still love in the world.”

The kitten, named Bonçuk for its blue eyes (Bonçuk means “bead” in Turkish), was found by 12-year-old Boston middle school student Alanur Heidecker on a muggy August night on Imbros, a Turkish island in the Aegean. Heidecker and her mother, Sennur Cinar, were staying with relatives on the island and had gone on a walk to the grocery store. But before entering the store, Heidecker heard raspy mewing coming from the trash can and began pestering her mother to let her look for the cat inside.

Both Cinar and her daughter could be clinically diagnosed as “cat-obsessed” if such a diagnosis existed. They already had two shelter cats back in Boston. These cats and the unconditional love they provided meant the world to the family. Cinar knew if she and her daughter found the kitten, they would be drawn to it and unable to pass it by. It’s the curse of the cat lover.

“That’s why I initially resisted when Alanur wanted to look for the kitten.” Cinar said. “But then I saw her. She was dirty, but she was so adorable and so sweet. I knew she had to come with us. I thought ‘Oh my God, this is going to be our third cat.’”

Although she could not yet properly walk, Bonçuk had an impressive set of lungs and an insatiable appetite. They brought the cat to the vet, where Bonçuk received a clean bill of health. When they were done visiting family in Imbros, the kitten took the three-hour ferry ride back to the mainland with Heidecker and Cinar, and then made the journey to Istanbul.

“I knew I couldn’t leave the cat behind. She was so little. Something would happen to her. Also, we truly loved her. She was really special. But the whole time I was thinking, ‘How are we going to get this cat back to the United States?’” Cinar said. “I was very worried. I knew once we left Imbros with her, there was no going back.”

She found out that Turkish Airlines, the airline they were flying on their return trip, only allows cats that are 10 weeks and older (as a rule, nearly every airline requires that cats be older than 2 months to fly, and some only allow cats over a year old). By the time Heidecker and Cinar were ready to go back to the United States in late August, Bonçuk was somewhere between 4 and 5 weeks old. Her eyes were no longer newborn blue, but she was still too young to get on a plane.


Photo . . .

Bonçuk the cat nibbles affectionately on the nose of her owner, Alanur Heidecker, while her mother, Sennur Cinar, looks on at their home in Jamaica Plain. Heidecker and her mother rescued the cat while visiting relatives in Turkey over the summer.


Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .

"Moscow Cares" (the most fun you can have with your pants on)

Tom Hansen
Moscow, Idaho

“A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met.”
- Roy E. Stolworthy
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