Cats in Indonesia

Road kill in the country we come from is a common sight. We often see deer, raccoon, squirrels, skunks, opossum, ground hogs, dogs, and cats lying on the sides of the roads. While in Indonesia we have seen lots of dead rats on the roads, and we have seen an occasional monkey, dog, or wild pig that was killed by traffic, but we have never seen a dead cat laying on the side of the road.

Most Indonesian cats have short stubby curled tail.

A few weeks ago we saw a driver of a motorcycle run over a cat. The cat was clearly killed, and we saw the driver of that motorcycle immediately pull to the side, go back and pick the cat up and take off again.

That caused us to ask questions about what we just witnessed, and this is what we learned:

  • If you run over and kill a cat while you are driving on the road you must turn around and pick it up. You must then take it home and bury it. If you don’t bury it you will be cursed and tragedies will befall you.
  • We were told the origin of this belief comes from the Prophet Muhammad . Because he loved cats and showed sympathy towards them, all Muslims  should do the same.
    • Though there may be nothing in the Al Qur’an that tells Muslims they should bury cats that are accidentally killed, we did learn of a story about the Prophet Muhammad who demonstrated great compassion toward his cat. That very short story can be read by clicking this link.
    • One hadith (Volume 3, Book 40, Number 552) tells of a woman who was scratched by a cat, and to punish it she put it in a cage and didn’t feed the creature. The woman herself, because of her cruelty to the cat, was tortured and put in hell.

General Advice

To show respect for the Indonesian culture and the majority religion, and to show pity and compassion towards all animals, if you accidentally kill an animal on the road, take the time to give it a decent burial.

Extra Info About Indonesian Cats

Most Indonesian cats have short stubby tails. This link gives some attempts at trying to explain why they are short (some of the explanations are meant to be humorous).