Tag: persian

Iran’s Theocrats Want To Ban Cats, Dogs and Other Pets

The Prophet Muhammad heard the afternoon call to prayer one day and was about to rise when he realized his favorite cat, Muezza, was sleeping on his sleeve.

Rather than wake the slumbering kitty, Muhammad cut off his sleeve, stroked her fur and headed off to pray.

That story — and accounts of Muezza regularly napping in the lap of Islam’s most sacred prophet as he preached to followers — make Muezza one of the most well-known felines in human history, and form the basis for Islamic teaching regarding cats. Muslims consider cats the cleanest of animals, worthy companions and, thanks to the way the Prophet Muhammad treated Muezza and his other cats during his life, animals worthy of respect and the protection of humans.

Why, then, do hardline Islamic lawmakers in Iran want to ban the keeping of cats as pets, along with other animals?

Animal lovers in the country of 84 million are alarmed after conservative lawmakers introduced a bill, titled “Protection of the Public’s Rights Against Animals,” that would ban people from “importing, raising, assisting in the breeding of, breeding, buying or selling, transporting, driving or walking, and keeping in the home wild, exotic, harmful and dangerous animals.”

The list of “dangerous animals” includes creatures domestic and wild including “crocodiles, turtles, snakes, lizards, cats, mice, rabbits, dogs and other unclean animals as well as monkeys,” according to Agence France Presse.

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A cat loafs in Saudi Arabia’s Masjid al-Haram in Mecca, just a few hundred feet from the Kabah, the most sacred site in Islam. The fact that cats are allowed in such close proximity to the site reflects the Prophet Muhammad’s devotion to felines. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Penalties for violating the ban would be steep:

“Offenders would risk a fine equivalent to 10 to 30 times the ‘minimum monthly working wage’ of about $98 or 87 euros and the ‘confiscation’ of the animal,” the report says. If passed, the law would also require landlords to ban pets on their properties.

The proposal has caused an outcry in Iran, where keeping pets has become more popular in recent years, especially because it’s not just one or two politicians introducing a long-shot piece of legislation: At least 75 of Iran’s 290 legislative representatives have already signaled support for the bill.

Officially, Iranian lawmakers who support the pet ban say they’re obligated to act because pets are “dangerous.” Mohammad-Taghi Naghdali, an Iranian MP, told Persian-language news site Didban-e Iran that dogs in particular can “cause nuisance and harm” to people, citing a recent incident in which a dog killed a child in a Tehran public park.

But observers say the real reasons have to do with the Iranian government’s interpretation of Islamic teaching, as well as fear that keeping pets is a western, liberal (in the classic sense) behavior that poses a danger to the Islamic theocracy.

In 2019, dog walking was officially banned in Tehran, and authorities warned residents to keep their pets out of public spaces.

“Police have received permission from the judiciary branch to crack down on people walking dogs in Tehran,” Tehran Police Chief Hossein Rahimi said in late 2019. “Carrying dogs in cars is also banned and if a dog is seen inside the car, police will confront the owner of the dog.”

In 2016, media reports said “officials were showing up at the homes of pet dog owners claiming that they were from a veterinary unit and these dogs needed vaccinations. The dogs were taken away, ostensibly for the purpose of vaccination and were never seen again.”

Dogs are considered “ritually unclean” according to Islamic hadiths, and some majority-Muslim countries, especially theocracies like Saudi Arabia, ban dog ownership completely with very few exceptions, such as seeing eye dogs for the blind.

By contrast, cats are widely tolerated and even welcomed into holy sites in most Islamic countries. In Saudi Arabia it’s not uncommon to see cats lounging on the grounds of mosques, while Turkey is famously hospitable to felines, with Istanbul earning an international reputation for its well-treated and ubiquitous street cats. In Turkey, cats are welcome in mosques, shops and homes, and tiny shelters for strays can be found almost everywhere.

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The late Gli, the most famous feline resident of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

The proposed law has not gone over well with the people of Iran, who are often at odds with the country’s theocratic leaders on almost every aspect of social life.

“I have renamed my cat ‘Criminal’ since I heard this proposed law,” one Iranian wrote on Twitter, while journalist Yeganeh Khodami tweeted: “How many times have cats sought to devour you so that you consider them wild, harmful and dangerous?”

A common refrain among animal lovers is that the country’s leadership is once again focusing on something ultimately unimportant and harmful to Iranians instead of working to fix real problems like a depressed economy, widespread droughts and nationwide belt-tightening caused by international sanctions.

“Why should I imprison him at home?” a Tehran woman walking a dog told Agence France-Presse. “The MPs probably assume that young couples today don’t have children because they have a pet dog, but that’s stupid. It’s not the dogs but the economic conditions that don’t allow us to have children.”

Amazing Cat Breeds: The Buddinese

Hello and welcome to Amazing Cat Breeds™, our new column about the finest cat breeds!

Savannah. Bengal. Toyger. Lykoi.

Those are just some of the names that come to mind when the topic of discussion turns to the rarest and most singular of cat breeds, those wildly expensive designer felines who are the exclusive animal companions of people with impeccable taste and equally impressive bank accounts.

But what if we told you there’s another option that stands above the rest in beauty, temperament and exclusivity? What if we told you there’s a breed that makes the mighty Bengal and the exotic Toyger look downright pedestrian?

Enter the Buddinese, a breed so rare and so difficult to acquire, most cat fancy aficionados consider it cryptozoological.

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The Buddinese: A cat breed so exclusive, you’ve never heard of it until now.

What is a Buddinese?

With its stunning emerald eyes hinting at deep sapience, its graceful gait and its sleek, powerful musculature, the Buddinese most closely represents a tiger in miniature, squeezing all the ferociousness of that majestic animal into a more compact form factor.

Those who count themselves among the lucky few to know Buddinese firsthand find it impossible to agree on the breed’s finest quality. Is it the Buddinesian’s fierce feline intelligence? Its regal presence? Or is it the breed’s astonishingly silky coat, shimmering like a beach of crushed diamond under starlight?

Putting guard dogs to shame

One argument frequently employed by those lacking discernment is that dogs, those olfactorily offensive beasts, are superior companion animals because of their watchful nature and ability to neutralize unwanted intruders.

But what if we told you the growl of a Buddinese strikes fear into the hearts of even the most accomplished burglars and home invasion artists? This breed is the dictionary definition of fearless, its dread visage enough to call forth rivulets of terror-piss from those who harbor malicious intent.

With a Buddinese guarding your home, the question isn’t “Will it be a match for armed intruders?” It’s “Will it even have to growl before the unfortunate souls who entered its territory unbidden are seized by mindless dread and involuntarily evacuate their bowels?”

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Apex predator: No sane person or animal would willingly confront such a powerful felid.

The Adonis of cats

It is said that it’s impossible for a Buddinese to strike a pose, for every snapshot of this wondrous cat is worthy of its own Michelangelo. If the breed existed in antiquity we’ve no doubt its likeness would be rendered in marble and gold flake, guarding the tombs of pharaohs and emperors alike.

Dragons and other mythical creatures would become redundant, for how can something as limited as human imagination improve on peak magnificence?

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The breed in its native habitat, where it reigns as the apex predator.

Where did the breed originate?

Unlike lesser designer cats, the Buddinese owes its existence to a singular breeder: Mother Nature. It’s said these magnificent cats are native to Buddesia, a jungle region of New York rich with fauna and flora.

Buddesia is so idyllic that Buddinese have no problem adjusting to human homes: After all, what is Buddesia if not one large, comfortable living room?

The envy of every other cat enthusiast

There’s more to a Buddinese than dashing good looks, fur that feels like Egyptian cotton and unequaled intelligence. To have a Buddinese is to have a felid who will win every cat fancy event.

Your friends think they’re special because they’ve got Persians or Siamese? That’s cute. You’ll be able to smell their jealousy as they look upon your Buddinese, wondering how they can acquire one. They can’t.

Would you like to see your cat featured in Amazing Cat Breeds™? Drop us a line in the comments with a photo of your stunning feline and a short description outlining why it’s awesome.

 

The Truth No One Will Tell You About Cat Breeds

When I was looking to adopt a cat I spent hours on the web reading about cat care, kitten proofing, behavior and, of course, breed.

Run a Google search about looking for the right cat and you’ll get several pages of nearly identical results about different cat breeds, what their personalities are like and what to expect from them.

Yet it turned out advice from a friend — who grew up with cats and has two of his own — was more accurate than anything I’d read online.

“When it comes to cats it’s a crapshoot, man,” my friend told me. “You never know what you’re gonna get.”

I wanted an engaged, friendly pet, and all the breed guides suggested Siamese are the best choice. But what I heard from shelter staffers echoed my friend’s observation: Don’t depend on a breed description because every cat is unique.

In the end I adopted Buddy, a gray tabby domestic shorthair. No particular breed, in other words. (Though he thinks he’s his own special kind of cat, and he’s not wrong.)

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Buddy the Buddesian.

Buddy, it turns out, is vocal, bold and friendly. He’s constantly by my side. He’s got a vibrant language of trills, meows and chirps with which he shares his opinion on everything. Where other cats hide when guests are over or a delivery guy knocks on the door, Buddy runs up, curious to see who’s on the other side and if they’re going to be his newest friends.

So why is it so difficult to pin down a cat’s personality, and why don’t cats fit the behavioral profiles of their breeds the way dogs do?

The answer lies in how both animals were domesticated, and their respective paths to becoming companion animals.

Dogs have been working animals for 30,000 years. The earliest dogs helped their humans hunt and guarded their camps at night, alerting them to dangerous situations or intruders. Later, when humans domesticated livestock and developed agriculture, dogs were bred for different purposes: Some herded sheep, some scared off wolves and coyotes, others pulled sleds.

A wet Siberian Husky!
Siberian Huskies were originally sled dogs and require lots of play and stimulation. Credit: Hans Surfer

Today we’ve got dogs who sniff out explosives, drugs and diseases. Police dogs catch a scent and help officers track down suspects. Therapy dogs bring joy to the elderly, sick and injured, while guide dogs make it possible for people with disabilities to live independently.

The point is, human hands have indelibly shaped canis familiaris since long before recorded history. These days dogs are valued primarily for their companionship, but virtually every breed has a lineage that began with practicality, meaning humans shaped them for disposition and ability. A dog’s breed is a good indication of its temperament.

Cats? Not so much.

Cats are famously self-domesticated: When humans developed agriculture and began storing grain, rodents flocked to the abundant new food sources, to the dismay of early human societies.

That’s when cats just showed up, exterminating rodents while showing no interest in grain. Humans didn’t need to breed felines to hunt mice and rats — it’s as natural to cats as grooming and burying their business.

Cats didn’t take on many other jobs in addition to their mousing duties, mostly because they’re famously resistant to following orders, but their hunting skills were so valuable to early societies that they didn’t need to do anything else to earn their keep.

Because of that, no one bothered breeding cats until fairly recently, and the vast majority of cat breeding focuses on changing the way cats look, not how they behave.

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Siamese cats originated in Siam, now known as Thailand. The breed is known for being vocal, but not all Siamese are talkative. Credit: iStock/Chromatos


We like to attribute qualities to cat breeds, and some of them are based in truth. Siamese do tend to talk more than other cats, ragdolls really do go limp when they’re picked up, and Maine Coons are famously chill despite dwarfing most other domestic cats.

But without the behaviorally-specific lineage common to dogs, cat breed behavioral attributes are more like broad stereotypes.

Beyond that, a cat’s personality is primarily determined by genetics and how they were raised in kittenhood. That’s why it’s crucial to handle and socialize kittens when they’re just weeks old, and why ferals will always fear humans.

It’s also why you should take stereotypes about cat breeds with a grain of salt when looking to adopt. If you’re adopting an adult, any good rescue will have information on the cat’s personality, likes and dislikes. If you’re adopting a kitten, you’re pulling the lever on a slot machine.

My advice is to put aside preconceptions about breeds, keep an open mind about looks, and find a cat who connects with you. Like people, no two cats are the same, and a cat’s personality is much more important than the color of its fur when it comes to bonding with an animal who will be in your life for the next 15 to 20 years.

Featured image: Natalie Chettle holds Rupert, a Maine Coone.

 

Dear Buddy : How Do I Push Kitty Crack On High-Class Felines?

Dear Buddy,

Catnip is incredibly lucrative, and in one year my new operation has expanded to a 20-cat organization slinging six pounds of the green gold per week to kitties in my neighborhood. I control all the colonies and clowders, and I have connections into the shelter system who deal exclusively to cats on the inside.

Now I’m looking to expand, but I don’t know where to go. As an OG niplord who practically invented the game, what do you think?

Respect,

Niplord in New York

Dear Niplord in New York,

I’m glad the youngins know my name and know of the path I blazed slingin’ that funky feline product. My empire was vast, I ate only the finest turkey and my human was none the wiser.

Now, to the matter at paw: You need to find a way into the suburbs. That’s where the real money is, dealing high-grade nip to high-class cats like those Persians, Abyssinians, Russian Blues and Turkish Angoras.

Do not, no matter how much money you think is on the table, ever deal to Siamese. They never shut up, and before you know it they’re blabbing your name to everyone, until officers from animal control are on your tail. Don’t sling to the Siamese!

The best way to get an in to the suburbs is to attend fancy feline soirees, the kind where those dainty Burmillas mix with the Angoras and pâté is served on silver plates, not in bowls.

Notice something about that group? Yep. They’re all white, which means you can jack up the prices and Five-Oh mostly leaves their neighborhoods alone. In the white neighborhoods, the kitty crack is sold in extravagant houses, not street corners.

But remember, you can’t show up at one of those lavish dinner parties talking street, son. Work on an appropriate accent, and give yourself a credible backstory so your new clientele believe you come from meowney. During my day I spoke with a convincing British accent, and told cats I was a British shorthair. They joke’s on them, ’cause they got played by a “common” American domestic shorthair. Fools.

Just remember to play it cool and never sample your own product.

Buddy out.

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Fat Tony, RIP, controlled vast amounts of territory in Queens and Brooklyn before he was taken out in a hit by Los Gatos. The nip trade is lucrative, but it’s also dangerous.