Why Baku cares for its feline friends
First published 23.01.2017
When Boris Akunin, a writer, arrived in Baku to collect materials for his next detective novel, he wrote a heartfelt ode to Baku summarizing his visit, in which he noted, among others, that Baku was certainly a city of cats rather than dogs.
And that’s fair. Of course, there are the dog-lovers too, but they are few and far between.
In fact, Azerbaijanis have a more loyal attitude to cats rather than to dogs. Therefore, a couple of plump cats ‘hanging out’ near a barbecue café is quite a commonplace, and also, one will find a cat just at each and every corner in the street.
According to a popular legend, Prophet Muhammad cut a sleeve of his robe off in order not to wake his favorite cat sleeping on it. Thus, care for this animal is explicitly encourages by Islam. That’s probably what helps cats thrive in Baku streets.
This male cat guards a huge barn with poultry feed. The photo was taken during heavy rain in Buzovna settlement.
City cats hunt for fun rather than for getting food. Their main food ration is what people would offer them.
These cats don’t live near a café, as usual, but rather outside a beauty parlor in Ahmedli, Baku’s commuter area. The parlor owner ran out to check, whether we were taking a photo of a trash bin at the entrance with some malicious intent or not. Having made sure that we were taking only the cats’ photos, she got back to work, adding that everything could be expected from people nowadays.
As far as loyalty to cats is concerned, mind that not every Azerbaijani family would agree to have a pet, and that’s not just because it is troublesome. It’s often due to a traditional pathological cleanliness. Therefore, many people are afraid of cats since childhood. Like, for example, this young lady, who couldn’t pet a cat even for the sake of a cute photo.