Qatari society’s increasing urban sophistication is causing a dramatic shift in its once vibrant relationship with domesticated animals. There was a time when Qatari families had a large herd of goats, huge flock of roosters, doves and camels.
Qatar’s growing cosmopolitan culture has forced families to break away from its age-old association with pets and domesticated animals.
There was a time when Qatari families woke up to the ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’ of roosters for Fajr (early morning prayers). But with the times changing, roosters have simply vanished from Qatari households and they are increasingly being replaced by imported birds, Turkish and Shirazi cats, rabbits, turtles and fluffy European breed puppies.
“Villages are fast disappearing. Old Qatari homes had large open premises, where domestic animals could freely move around. With Qataris moving into plush villas, the culture of living with domestic animals has become a thing of the past.
“The law that forbids owners from letting their domestic animals to graze in open grounds has forced a section of Qataris to shift them to ezab (farms),” says a senior Qatari citizen.
Qataris do not have a culture of keeping dogs at home and prefer to keep them for hunting and guarding.
But tides seem to be slightly turning. Influenced by Qatar’s emerging cosmopolitan culture, there is an increasing trend among the new generation of Qataris to befriend tiny, fluffy Western puppies.
Some believe raising pets has now turned into a significant element of lifestyle like fashion and cars. Young Qatari girls prefer having cats like Siamese and Shirazi ones in homes.
“Because of the influence of emerging foreign culture on the Qatari society, girls have begun to raise cats at home and I expect this practice to continue in the future.
“People will start imitating other cultures, raising animals at home,” said Rashid Al Kubaisi, a Qatari citizen.
The growing influence of foreign culture and the fact that domesticated animals and pets are readily available in the local market are the reasons why more and more young Qataris want to have pets at their homes, says a Qatari psychologist.