The title to this article encourages me to generalize but that is unwise because it seems to me that there is a wide range of attitudes towards cats amongst the Pakistani community in Great Britain which is dependent upon the age of the person and how integrated that person is into mainstream British society.
In general, younger people are probably more integrated into British society while the older generation are more likely to adhere to traditional Muslim values which affect a person’s attitude towards the cat.
A major factor in assessing the attitude towards cats by Pakistanis in the UK is the concept of multiculturalism. In the UK, multiculturalism was accepted as the way forward as opposed to integration. Multiculturalism promotes the cultural diversity of communities and it encourages different ideologies and policies within the cultural differences of the various ethnic minorities in the UK. Today, multiculturalism is discredited to a certain extent because it promotes a divided wider society which in turn can lead to the problems that we have with disaffected young Pakistani males becoming jihadists traveling to the Islamic State to wage war.
Multiculturalism encourages Pakistani’s who follow the Islamic faith to treat cats in much the same way that they would treat them in Pakistan.
So what is the attitude of Pakistanis in Pakistan with respect to the domestic and feral cat? The attitude is similar to many other countries which extend from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Far East, through Asia, which is that the concept the domestic cat ownership and possessing a cat is far less popular than the concept of community cats in which cats live outside in the community where they are fed sometimes by kind people. Community cats are semi-domesticated.
Accordingly, I would expect that in a traditional Pakistani home within an area where there are many Pakistani’s that there are not that many cat owners in the conventional sense. In fact, Ahsan living in Pakistan tells me that about 3% of his neighbors look after a house cat. That figure rises to 5% for dogs. There appear to be less community cats than I had believed. Ahsan also says that many people in Pakistan (up to 90%) don’t like cats. He says they hate cats.
However, I would expect that a young Pakistani couple who are more integrated into the British way of life to be far more likely to adopt and care for a domestic cat in the usual way.
Apparently, Muslims in general, in interpreting the Koran, do not agree with the concept of contraception or preventing the conception of newborn babies which extends I’m told to their attitude towards the sterilization of the domestic cat. It would appear, then, that a traditional Muslim attitude towards the community cat is to live and let live which means that the cats get on with our lives without intervention in terms of sterilization. This must therefore mean more community cats but there appears to be an attitude of acceptance of community cats even when they proliferate.
The Islamic faith should encourage Pakistanis to be kind towards cats because of the well-known story of the Prophet Muhammad’s attitude towards his own cats.
No doubt the influence of the Prophet Muhammad upon the modern Muslim Pakistani varies from person to person. Judging by the stories of Ahsan ul Haq in Pakistan it would seem that the Prophet’s attitude towards cats is not replicated by a significant segment of society in Pakistan and therefore I would expect that attitude to be carried over to Pakistani immigrants into the UK in some sectors of the society.
In 2007 (I expect it to be the same today) 96% of Pakistanis were Muslims. Therefore I’d expect 90% if Pakistanis in the UK to be Muslims too but as is the case for followers of Christianity, being a Muslim does not necessarily mean a person adheres closely to the teachings and culture of the religion. As mentioned it depends on the person. I expect younger people to me more secular.
Even when a Pakistani is a strict Muslim I’d doubt that they always treat cats the way the Prophet Mohammed did. I wish it were otherwise.
My conclusion is that the attitude towards cats by Pakistanis in the UK is one that encourages less ownership of cats and less of a desire to personally care for a domestic cat or be responsible for an individual cat. I sense that, fundamentally, there is less empathy towards the cat, domestic, stray or feral than in the secular or Christian section of UK society.
This is not a criticism, just a plain neutral observation based on the information I have.
It should be noted though that there is growing market in purebred cats in Pakistan. There are sellers of so called purebred cats and they are nearly always Persians particularly white Persians. This is quite a contrast to the plight of the street cats in the country. I wonder how many Pakistani families in the UK care for a purebred, pedigree cat? Not many is the answer.