Süheyla Erdönmez died under the wreckage of the eight-story Rıza Bey Apartment in Bayraklı district, which collapsed to the ground due to weak infrastructure after the earthquake that killed 116 people and wounded 1,034 people.
Some 12 cats were rescued by search and rescue teams and were treated at a veterinary clinic.
The body of Erdönmez was pulled out along with 33 other people who died in the rubble of the collapsed building.
Emrah Batı, the veterinarian who treats the cats, said he knew Erdönmez personally and that he had treated all her cats.
“The cats were brought to my clinic and I was in deep sorrow to see that they were the cats Erdönmez was looking after. I took care of them as if they were my own cats,” Batı said, noting that Erdönmez was the first person he thought about when he learned the Rıza Bey Apartment had collapsed.
Saying that Erdönmez, who was also an animal rights advocate, took care of nearly 50 stray cats, the veterinarian said that some of the cats were living at home with her and some of them were in the empty shop on the lower floor of the apartment.
“After the incident, her husband came to my clinic. He took two cats back and told me to put the others up for adoption. He stated that he will build a cat shelter on behalf of his wife,” Batı said, adding that many animal lovers reached out to him to adopt the cats following the earthquake.
“I gave away nine cats to good families. I have one cat left from Mrs. Erdönmez and completed his treatment too. There are animal lovers who want to adopt this adorable cat,” Batı noted.
[HH] Research on tsunami ongoing
Meanwhile, academic studies are ongoing to investigate the tsunami that occurred in the town of Sığacık after the earthquake.
Ergin Ulutaş and Ahmet Cevdet Yalçıner, two geophysicists from Kocaeli University and Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) conducted a comprehensive research with a team of academics in the region.
Hurriyet Daily News