What multiculturalism means to cats

I don’t have an answer. It’s just something I wonder about.

In the past, recent arrivals to the United States were expected to make a sincere effort learn English, and to change their habits and beliefs to match those of the part of the United States where they now lived.  This is no longer the generally accepted expectation.  It seems that many people prefer to adhere to the the language and customs they grew up with. They demand to have their language and customs tolerated, at the very least, if not actively supported by government-mandated inclusiveness programs.

As the daughter of someone who moved to the United States from another country, I know firsthand about the tension between “fitting in” and keeping alive the precious memories and habits of another country.

Since my profession is cat grooming, I am interested to see how cultural inclusiveness plays out in the world of animal care.  The reality is that depending on one’s country, the “correct” place of a cat (or a dog) can range from being a treasured family member to being street trash or even a symbol of evil. What happens when you have neighbors who expect their views to be respected, but one neighbor treasures cats as if they were children, another views them purely as useful mouse-catchers, and yet another views them as pests to be kept away by whatever means works?

We already see this disagreement come up among long-term U.S. residents.  “Your cat kills birds.”  “Your cat wrecks my garden.”

My guess is that the animal welfare and animal rights groups are going to be kept busy navigating this cultural minefield.  When you have a kind of homeland mentality, where your country of birth is a big part of your identity, how willing are you going to be to follow animal-care laws or customs in your new home? Will following the laws seem like being forced to give up your personality? These are interesting times!