Story Detail

07 Oct 2015

Indonesia’s Profound Feline Affection

Vox Orbis / 07 Oct 2015 Pets

Photo: Cats are popular pets in Indonesia thanks to their friendly personality, cute appearance and tame behavior. This tabby calls Indonesia home. Rizki Ekananda/Flickr

Language: Indonesian (bahasa Indonesia)

Esther Tanuadji

In Indonesia, the cat is considered one of the most popular pets. Indonesians prefer cats to other pets mostly because their fur comes in various colors, they are cute and not wild. They are friendly, affectionate and playful. Some people even pick cats as a pet to comfort their soul.

Furthermore, Islam—a major religion in Indonesia—considers the cat a quintessential animal.  Persecution and killing of cats is prohibited in some Islamic haddits. Cats are also loved by the Prophet Mohammad himself, who is reported to have said that “a love of cats is an aspect of faith.”

Photo: The Turkish Angora, pictured here, is a popular breed of cat in Indonesia. Moyan Brenn/Flickr

Among the various breeds, Angora, Persian, Himalayan, Exotic, and Kampong (Domestic) are the most popular in Indonesia. The Maine Coon is also getting increasingly popular nowadays.

Photo: Himalayan cats, pictured here, are also popular pets in Indonesia. Bambang Suryobroto/Flickr

The number of cat fanciers in Indonesia is also enormous. Independent groups of cat lovers are prevalent and each group has its own distinct activities. Qori Soelaiman, for example, founded Yayasan Peduli Kucing—a cat-awareness foundation—that focuses its effort on saving stranded cats. She even publishes an anthology of memorable moments with cats. Other organizations that promote cat adoption are also flourishing.

Dea-Dea is an island in Sulawesi dedicated specifically to cats and now has become a tourism destination. To reach this island, tourists travel by speedboat for 15 minutes from Belang-Belang Dock in Tonyamang Village.  Although there is no specific record of when cats started to inhabit Dea-Dea Island, it is believed that the cats have lived and reproduced there for several decades without any human intervention.

Esther Tanuadji for Vox Orbis, 2015