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Kitty Kitty Bang Bang prophet mohammad's favourite pet, and its place in muslim indonesia

Hot, humid, pungent. The vibrant streets of Indonesia can be beautiful and full of life.
Stray cats are a common sight on these streets. There are simply no estimates to the number of stray cats in Indonesia, a 18,000 island archipelago. There are no relevant animal welfare laws at the federal level, and strays are, in theory, responsibilities of various provincial government ministries and agencies.

Locals often have conflicting stories on how strays are treated, and urban myths are prevalent.

"They go around and cut their tails off," says Hari Suharso, a Jakarta Tour Guide. He was trying to explain to a group of foreign students why many of Indonesia's stray cats appear to have a stubby tail.
Cats are said to be the favourite pet of the Prophet Mohammad and his family, and the Islamic concept of mercy meant that unnecessary harming of cats - and animals in general - are prohibited.

In fact, local superstitions posit that it brings bad luck to those who injure or kill stray cats. Mr Maksum Aksan Damanik, hotel manager of a Jakarta hotel, remembers a time when he hit a cat with his car by accident.

"We believe that if you hurt or kill a cat, you will get bad luck. When I was driving, I backed up into a cat because I didn't see. I paid someone to have it buried. That night, my car was hit by a drunk motorcyclist. My wife asked me if I buried the cat wrapped in the shirt I was wearing (which wards off the bad luck), but I didn't."

According to the late Sheikh Sayyed Mutawalli Ad-Darsh, while the practice of spaying and neutering of animals is not prohibited (in Islam), it is not encouraged. Religious beliefs and associated financial costs contribute to the reluctance of an older generation of vets to conduct such operations, and owners to pay for surgery.

Founder of The Whiskers' Syndicate, Josie T Lim, who quit her corporate career to found and fund her own cat sanctuary, alleges that "In Bandung specifically, 98 per cent of its residence, including veterinarians, are backyard breeders...favourable "produce" are kept and sold by the street, the others are dumped to the street, into ravines, to the rivers, in the sewers, or fed to dogs, or used as dog fighting bait."

Not all is lost, however. Josie also notes that "The younger generation in Jakarta and Bandung...who has better education, often take cats from certain death, care for them, and look for adopters."

Until there are sufficient changes to government regulation, veterinary practices, ownership and treatment, stray cats will continue to be part of Indonesia's vibrant streetscape.
Created By
Shi Ng
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Created with images by astama81 - "masjid architecture mosque"

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