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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-09-2016, 11:40 PM Thread Starter
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Cats in other cultures

I'm curious to see where cats fit in other cultures besides US/Western world. I got to wondering about it when my sister was visiting with her husband and mother in law (who is from South India). My sister has had 2 cats for over 10 years, both are pretty strictly "one-person" cats so when MIL is visiting its never a problem. My cat loves all people though and has to say hello to almost everything. Her introduction of choice is to climb up on the back of the sofa and walk up so she's eye level. Ama (the mother in law) freaked out when this happened and ran screaming. She explained that cats in India are rare and most people dislike them (sort of like having a pet snake, some people do it but lots of people don't care for them).

Anyone else know the role of cats in other parts of the world?
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 02:40 AM
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I do know Muslims love cats and consider them revered animals. As for where I'm from (KY) we also like the kind of Cats that play basketball!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 03:51 PM
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The Japanese LOOOVES cats, if you didn't know.

They believe cats bring good luck, which is why the Maneki Neko (fortune cat) is often displayed at many merchant store entrances. There was also a female feline station master named "Tama" for 16 years, now with "Nitama" after her passing last year, their new mascot! Oh, and there's a place called "Nekojima", or Cat Island, too. Finally, let's not all forget the famous white Hello Kitty that's been popular since the 70s! But I really want to visit a cat cafe, which was started up in Taiwan and became a big hit in Japan and now around the world. I think we have at least one here in the city, but I have yet to visit!

Japan Society: Cats Purr-vade Japan's History and Culture
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 07:02 PM
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As Yasmine would say from that Cat Versus Human comic, *gets big black anime eyes* I want cuddles from all those kitties! *picks some up and hugs them* SQUEE!!!!!!!
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 07:37 PM
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I think the cultural views of cats (and dogs!) vary greatly, and their (ancient) roots lie in both religious and/or economic reasoning.

Cats are revered in many cultures - this probably stems from their (again, ancient) extreme usefulness as vermin exterminators. In Egyptian and Muslim cultures, a vermin exterminator would have been nearly instrumental in keeping food stores safe, and hence keeping more people alive and safe from both starvation and disease. The love and reverence from the animals rise from their more humble, useful origins ;}

The Japanese culture does seem to go nuts for cats - but interestingly, in ancient mythology, the cat was often evil and/or demonic (for example, the bakeneko).

As a side-comparison, dogs are generally viewed as living tools (another example would be the horse) in agricultural or underdeveloped/non-industrialized countries. These cultures may simply not see any "point" in keeping a dog as a pet, so their views on dogs may seem cold and cruel to others.

Basically - modernized, industrial countries whose residents can afford the luxury of keeping a cat or dog as a pampered, cherished pet that has no actual "value" to the family/individual (e.g., herding, vermin control, guarding) generally love pets and view them as members of the family.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-10-2016, 08:21 PM
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Doing some research for another thread, I found a number of places, culturally, that really saddened me...I will not go into details here, but if you google, Cats and (country of your choice), you may be in for a shock...(dogs included).
In some of these countries, anyone who is trying to save lives, and change long held beliefs, is a person, who I respect...and it can seem like a very lonely and heartbreaking path...

I know a lot of people would rather not know the 'real' stories out there...because, yes, they are disturbing, BUT, the only way some things can change, is to know what's going on, and to try and help other's in education, etc...and to support those, who are trying to do what they can...
This is true for people, and for animals...

"A Cat must have three different names:
An everyday family name; A particular name;
And the name but the Cat Himself Knows, and will never confess." T.S. Eliot

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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2016, 06:21 PM
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In ancient Egypt, cats were worshiped. Many cats were mummified with their owners. Bastet, the cat goddess, was depicted as a cat-headed woman. Also, the Egyptians domesticated a species of African wildcat, an early example of cat domestication. This is, of course, a long gone culture, but still an interesting one.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-11-2016, 08:04 PM
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I forgot to note, I have just ONE game app on my phone, and it's called "Neko Atsume" or Cat Collection, translated. It's super cute and doesn't take much of my time, unlike a lot of games out there. They now do updates every month or two, so you can buy new items or see if there are any new feline characters you need to add.

Just don't feed your REAL cats what you do on the app, which is mainly sushi grade fish (to attract those hard to attain cats)! This is also a very popular game which originated in Japan, so I suppose feeding fish to them makes sense.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-13-2016, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Estil View Post
I do know Muslims love cats and consider them revered animals. As for where I'm from (KY) we also like the kind of Cats that play basketball!
Sadly, it isn't that straight forward. A lot of Muslim states have very bad track record on cruelty to cats. They are "unclean" (as are dogs). A friend of mine lived for many years in Egypt and worked in a rescue there and her stories were horrific. And a Muslim friend of mine was seriously terrified of both cats and dogs as a result of the culture where he came from.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 03-14-2016, 11:56 PM
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Australia is a bit of a mixed bag. There's a lot of cat lovers, and of course people who breed and show etc and all the usual cat lover things. But we also have a very flipped view because of feral cats and the damage they cause to Australian widllife. They're a huge problem and have contributed to the extinction of many small mammals (as I'm sure they have elsewhere). As a result, many people think cats shouldn't be allowed as pets in Australia at all. And trapping/shooting is obviously a big thing in rural areas too (probably common elsewhere I imagine as well).

I sit in the middle. I'm an avid cat lover, but I'm also passionate about wildlife conservation. I'm of the opinion that cat's should only be allowed as indoor pets (only positive for pet cat health and wildlife health). However obviously this comes with repercussions as stray and feral populations can then expand due to available resources. So I'm also a big advocate for controlling stray and feral populations. Trap neuter release is reasonably accomplished in urban areas, however isn't as effective in the outback because the density of cats is so low that trapping large numbers is difficult.

Last edited by marie73; 03-15-2016 at 03:55 AM.
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