the article continues:
Although it has never been common to own pets in the Arab world, it's becoming increasingly fashionable among the upper class in Saudi Arabia and other countries such as Egypt.
In Islamic tradition, dogs are shunned as unclean and dangerous, though they are kept for hunting and guarding. In large cities around the Middle East, stray dogs are considered pests.
The ban on cats is more puzzling, since there's no similar disdain for them in Islamic tradition.
One of the Prophet Muhammad's closest companions was given the name Abu Huraira, Arabic for "the father of the kitten," because he always carried a kitten with him and a number of traditional stories of the prophet show Muhammad encouraging people to treat cats well.