Domestic Animals in Asia: Not Pets, Yet Not Always Feral Either

We saw lots of dogs and cats on the street in Asia, but they were not pets in the American sense.

Most of the cats on the streets of Jakarta looked scrawny, and many had oddly short tails. At first I thought it must be the custom to cut their tails. Then I asked someone and we decided the cats were either inbred, which made their tails weak, or had lost parts of tails in fights or accidents. This picture was taken at the marina of wooden cargo ships in Jakarta.

Cat at Marina Jakarta Oct 2015

So I was surprised to discover a cat café in Jakarta, but I was staying in Kemang, the expatriate district. Where else would it be?

The adoptable kitties at the Cat Cabin looked plump and healthy. I did see two cats getting down to it in a cubbyhole in a cat tree, which you aren’t likely to see at a cat café in the United States. But the woman at the front desk during my second visit assured me they had all their cats fixed, and the white cat with balls was gone that day. So maybe what I saw was his last stand before a visit to the cutter.

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I saw more cats than dogs in most places, probably because cats are more useful in a city—they kill rodents.

This dog looked perfectly happy to be running alongside a bike on a busy street in Jakarta. He may have been the only leashed dog I saw.

Dog and cyclist Jakarta Oct 2015

In the Philippines we saw “guard dogs” in small cages. I think they were meant to be an early warning system, but it didn’t make sense to me.

One day on Bali I was walking back to the B&B when I heard some barking behind me. I ignored it, since I had yet to meet a friendly dog on the island. Then the barking got louder. I turned around and saw this.

Dogs in Bali near Mango Tree Inn Oct 2015

I hadn’t noticed any of these dogs while walking down this block, and then there were six of them—plus a chicken. That scared me.

When we were driving back to the airport in Bali, we asked our driver, Candra, “How do people keep track of their chickens here?” They walk around everywhere; they don’t seem to stay in any one yard. He said people just know. Then he mentioned that one of his neighbors had taken one of his chickens, but it was difficult to tell if he was offended by that.

But they were country chickens. These here are city chickens.

Chickens in Jakarta Oct 2015