Cat Stevens in the City of Cats and why he is called ‘Cat Stevens’

Cat Stevens aka Yusuf Islam (born Steven Demetre Georgiou) tweeted today, one hour ago, that he is in the City of Cats. In the photograph he is standing in front of a large mosque. I think it is the Blue Mosque of Istanbul, a city dubbed the City of Cats and sometimes referred to as ‘Catstanbul’. It is a city were there are lots of community cats and you’ll see them by mosques. Sometimes the imams let in community cats (semi-feral street cats) to join those in prayer.

Here is the full photo:

Cat Stevens in Istanbul

Cat Stevens in Istanbul looking fit and like a native of the city if I may say so.

The photograph prompted me to investigate why Yusuf Islam wanted to call himself Cat Stevens – why the prefix to his name of ‘Cat’. Is he a cat lover? Is that the reason because if so we should know.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

It seems that I have found a definitive and straightforward (prosaic) answer. Georgiou believed that the name that he was born with was simply not good enough as a stage name. It wasn’t memorable enough. He chose Cat Stevens because, he says, his then girlfriend told him that he had eyes like a cat. Also, and this second reason is interesting:

“I couldn’t imagine anyone going to the record store and asking for ‘that Steven Demetre Georgiou album’. And in England, and I was sure in America, they loved animals.”

Source: Reiter, Amy (14 August 1999). “Salon People: Cat Stevens”. Salon. Retrieved by Wikipedia on 17th October 2015.

City of Cats - Istanbul

City of Cats – Istanbul. Photo in public domain.

So, he believed that he had to inject a reference to animals into his stage name because the public where he intended to sell his records liked cats he believed. Well, he could not have chosen a better animal. Domestic cats are extremely popular in North America as are dogs as their numbers are very similar.

The Turkish Van and Angora comes from Turkey (of course). Here are some articles on the Turkish Van:

Van cats put up for adoption from Turkish research center dedicated to promoting the breed

Turkish Van Cat Research Center is putting up hundreds of cats for adoption

I find this news item strange because the news is only on one page of the Internet on the Daily ...
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Turkish Van

Which cat breed is the most aggressive (beware of false information)?

This article answers the question as to what single cat breed is the most aggressive but BEWARE of false information ...
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All-white Turkish Van swimming

A Van cat should be all-white with eyes of different colours

The Turkish Van cat should be all-white with odd-eye colour, usually blue and amber. The Turkish Van cats of the ...
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The Real Turkish Van Cat

The Real Turkish Van Cat

The real Turkish Van was, is and always will be a handsome, distinctively Turkish cat that is random bred, meaning ...
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North Cyprus Map

Harvey’s 37 Cats in North Cyprus

Introduction We are in Northern (Turkish) Cyprus (see map for location) today to have a look at some of Harvey ...
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American Angora theft of Turkish angora

Theft of the Turkish Angora Cat Breed

The distinguished and important cat breed, the Turkish Angora, has been hijacked not once but twice. While the real Turkish ...
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Spotted street stray cats of Cyprus

Spotted Street Cats of Cyprus

This is a nice picture of three beautifully spotted, street cats of Cyprus. Their coats are very high quality spotted ...
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Turkish Van Cat Facts For Kids

Turkish Van Cat Facts For Kids

The Turkish Van is a breed of domestic cat with a very long history that goes back hundreds of years ...
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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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