Chasing Anka: Part I

Chasing Anka: Part I

If you are at all familiar with Tabby’s Place, then you will know of Anka, the paraplegic cat from far away Turkey.

But how had he made it from the streets of Istanbul to Ringoes, NJ? We accepted that it would forever remain a mystery.

But, at the end of October, 2017 I received email that began to unravel the mystery.

The contents of the email gets us one step closer to his full story: how he got to the US from Turkey.

I think the letter speaks for itself, so without further ado: (And, stay tuned for Part II, where we track Anka back one step further yet.)

From: Okan DEMIRKAN <>
Date: Oct 30

Dear Madam / Sir,

I found out that Anka was transferred from Animal Havens facilities [to] Tabbys Place and read (with much emotion) the article about Anka. Here is why I am writing: I am the person who brought Anka from Istanbul to New York at the end of last August.

It was an incredible adventure for my wife and me. We picked him up from the vet that was taking care of him, a few hours before our flight. The vet told me that Anka had excreted and would not have any bladder problems on the way to New York, but Anka was so scared when we arrived at Istanbul airport, that he let go off his digestion system on my t-shirt, twice. When we boarded the plane, they took Anka to the cargo department. I did not sleep a minute during the 11-hour flight, because I was worried that we would lose Anka in cargo, as he was so frightened. When we saw him again at JFK Airport, we were the happiest people on earth! Then, we handed him over to Animal Haven and were assured that we did a good thing for Anka (I was worried about whether we were actually torturing him with the 11-hour flight there).

A more miraculous thing happened in New York: my wife and I were looking for a store near Soho. We got lost and walked into Chinatown, by mistake. Then we noticed what we thought was a petshop in a corner. We walked to that shop (as we thought!) to see if there was anything we could buy for our own cat at home. As we neared the door, we saw the sign Animal Haven! Anka had literally called out for us and it was NO coincidence that we ran into him in that huge city! We walked in, and asked to see Anka. Anka was delighted to see us, and this time he looked at me as if he was saying thank you. I held him in my arms for a few minutes and we said our goodbyes. I am 37 years old and cannot remember being that touched in my entire life.

Last week, the friend of mine who asked me to take Anka to NY sent me the link to your article, From Turkey to Jersey: Absolutely Anka. I cannot describe my feelings here. What I now want to do is two things: (1) Thank you Tabbys Place for doing what you do. I am so happy that there are human beings like you on this planet. (2) I would like to donate for Ankas care and well-being. I looked at the options on your website, but did not want to choose any of them without asking you. What does Anka need the most? How can a support him best? If you kindly let me know the best way I can help, I will choose that option.

I do not know what else to say. This is all really emotional for me. Thank you so much!

4 thoughts on “Chasing Anka: Part I

  1. 9AM and someone has been cutting onions already!

    Dear Mr. Demirkan, thank YOU for bringing Anka to us! You’ve secured your spot in Heaven for sure. Reaching out to help a little boy like Anka makes you a fine example of mankind. It was meant to be – all of it, divinely, perfectly – Anka’s trip to the United States with you, you getting lost in Chinatown and finding Animal Haven, your friend finding and showing you the article.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  2. What a wonderful story – from the streets of Istanbul to Ringoes, NJ! Anxiously awaiting part II. Amazing story – thank you and Thank You Tabby’s Place!

  3. To say there are no coincidences in this life would be an understatement. Divine intervention for sure. I am blessed to be a volunteer at this wonderful place called Tabby’s and Mr. Demirkan, Anka and this planet are blessed that there are people like you in this world. I have a plaque with the following words that comes to mind when I think of Mr. Demirkan and Anka’s incredible story….”Saving one cat will not change the world, but for that one cat, the world will change forever”. Thank you to you, your wife, and all those who had a hand in Anka’s incredible journey.

  4. Dear Mr. Demirkan,
    Last month my cousin married one of the nicest women I’ve ever met. Asli was studying in the US but is originally from Turkey. Now I learn of you and your wife and your extreme generosity and kindness to Anka. Obvious conclusion, Turkey has wonderful people. Thank you and stay in touch with Tabby’s Place.

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