No idea 😉 That is not quite true. I am always interested in finding out about cats in countries other than in the group of countries that we call “the West”. For me, the West is Europe and North America but everyone has their own interpretation. We shouldn’t forget Russia, which has a big relationship with the domestic cat and a lively cat fancy but it is in the West where you see the most well developed relationship between cat and person. I hasten to add that “well developed” does not necessarily mean the domestic cat is better off in America than, say, Iran.
I have been provided with a glimpse of what life is like for the domestic cat in Iran. I won’t quote the source in case it causes a problem for her/him. Currently Iran has a nasty government – actually a dictatorship – which spies on its own people and restricts freedoms while walking over human rights. What about the rights of cats in Iran?
My source provides a snapshot answer. I have made one or two corrections to her English. This person writes good English but not perfect. A lot of Iranians speak and write good English – admirable.
There are a lot of beautiful cats in public places in Iran. Sometimes people feed them and sometimes their food is only garbage. But they do not belong to anyone.
I think those cats aren`t purebred but most of them are really beautiful. Of course cats have a better situation than dogs in Iran because of Islamic regulations . I don’t know how many people have a cat in Iran but they must not be a lot. I think those few people prefer to have PERSIAN cat . because they think PERSIAN cats are originally from Iran (Persia is the old name of Iran) – my English language is not good. I hope I was able to answer your questions correctly…
That glimpse does tell us quite a lot. Iran is called “the Islamic Republic of Iran”. So firstly, right away we can say that the Islamic faith encourages Muslims to treat cats nicely. You probably know that this is because the prophet Muhammad kept a cat or cats and he loved cats. That is a very fortunate turn of events for the cat! Hurrah. All of us who like cats and animals can at least rely on the fact that the teachings of the Islamic Faith promotes good cat welfare. I have a page on that subject with some detail: Islam Faith and Cats.
That bodes well for the cat in Iran. Secondly my source, gives me the impression that most Iranians don’t keep a cat. Most cats in Iran are probably going to be what we would refer to as “community cats”. These are feral and stray cats that are relatively tame that are fed by shop keepers etc. I am speculating that that is the way it is for cats in Iran based on what I know about other countries such as Morocco where cats share people.
Finally, she makes, the not unexpected point that there are not many purebred cats in Iran (cats of a specific cat breed as opposed to moggies, random bred cats). Note: these cats would not be considered purebred in the West because they are not registered with a cat association as there is no cat fancy in Iran. However, they are probably more purebred that Western Persians.
If a cat is a member of a cat breed in Iran it will be the Persian for the reason she states, namely that the Persian cat is named after the country called Persia which, as we know, is Iran. However, in truth, I think you will find that the history of the Persian cat is vague and people aren’t sure about the origins of the Persian cat. For example, the Turkish Angora may be the forerunner of the Persian. Also selective breeding in the West has totally distanced the modern Persian from its heritage and origins so the discussion is academic. Anyway, that is probably besides the point because if people in Iran believe the Persian originates in Iran they will be more inclined to adopt a Persian cat.
Of all the cat breeds, the Persian is the most popular in non-Western countries (excluding Russia). India is another example of a country where the Persian is almost the only purebred cat. The Persian’s popularity in these countries is due to the fact that it is one of the original cat breeds with a very long history starting in the Middle East and which was, for many years, the most popular in America.
I think we can bring up a vision in our minds of what it is like for cats in Iran: most people don’t keep a cat. Almost all cats are moggies and they are wandering cats. Some people, perhaps the better off people, keep a Persian cat. It is probably white. I wonder if the dictator, the so called elected 6th president of of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has a white Persian cat?