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Morocco: The Whole “Kitten” Caboodle

Cats are abundant in Morocco. Overabundant, even. One of my favorite things about living there was photographing the street cats – of which there would often be groups of up to 20. Judging by the spate of posts from the Moroccan blogoma (and even some recent travelers to Morocco) about cats, I'm not the only one who loves felines – and lately, even professional artists and photographers have found them to be a popular subject!

The House in Marrakesh recently shared a series of photos of Moroccan street cats. Here's one, of which the blogger said:

In the medina, it is useful to live above a fish shop.

The House in Marrakech

Useful indeed, as the blogger mentions in her next post that Morocco is experiencing a shortage of cat food:

Most Moroccans feed their cats scraps and they seem to do fine. Our pampered beasts have acquired a taste for Whiskas but the supply seems to have run out.
It is not to be had anywhere. Not at Marjane or Acima ( the supermarkets outside the medina). People are emailing and telephoning each other in search of Whiskas sightings. Things often run out here – mustard, for example, and no one is quite sure when they will reappear.

Global Voices’ own Lalla Lydia shared artist photos of Moroccan cats, while sharing this tidbit about the Moroccan attitude toward felines:

Household animals, particularly dogs, are considered taboo in Islam because they are said to be unclean. The saluki (a pure-bred hunting dog from Arabia) is exempt from this, as are songbirds and cats (perhaps because the latter keeps out the rodents). Supposedly it is also because cats are supposed to be clean (just think of how long they spend licking themselves).

In response, a reader of her blog sent a Moroccan cat calendar. Here's Miss September:
Miss December
(Photo and calendar by Joan)

The Whole Kitten Kaboodle (whose name is a total coincidence in relation to the title of this post) recently visited Morocco and had many lovely cat photos to share. Here's one, with the blogger's own caption:

The Whole Kitten Caboodle

Guess what!!! In Morocco, chickens are kept behind bars in prison boxes. And these prison boxes are guarded by specially trained felines. I present to you the Sargeant at Arms of the Poultry Police.

Another traveler, author of TMF's Travelogue, had kind things to say about the Moroccan treatment of cats, and shared a couple of photos as well:

Cats are everywhere in Morocco – Moroccans are indeed cat people. People don’t really “own” cats the way they do in developed countries – they’re more like community pets that wander about. People take care of them and feed them scraps when they can. Some are pampered more than others – like there was one cat that seemed to live in the hotel in Essaouira, who just forced his way in and made himself at home on the sofa – jumping up and taking hold of his spot as though it had a reserved sign on it. There was also a few in the restaurants that did the same. The ones that aren’t as fortunate are a bit mangy and will often congregate at your feet, screaming loudly for scraps. This is always a bit sad, and I’m a cat person, so I always end up feeding them – which is then followed by a half dozen more following.

TMF

TMF

Wayfarer Scientista used cats to determine if a place was worth staying in:

Wayfarer Scientista

A cat & an Arabic sign. We found that the relative health of the cats were a pretty good indicator of whether or not we wanted to stick around in any one place.

Finally, DeepTape sums up the cat situation best, saying:

Cats are everywhere in Morocco, on rooftops, fighting on the tent fabric overhead, strolling through restaurants. In the Palais Bahia, we saw a dozen cats gathered together in the courtyard; clearly they were the true rulers of the place. On a rooftop terrace restaurant, a cat padded over across neighboring roofs to make friends and beg for scraps. However, I saw no rats, something I can’t say for San Francisco.

To this I will add a personal note – Moroccan cats are simply the best. So good, in fact, that I brought one back to the United States with me. On that note, I leave you with a photo of my very own Moroccan cat, LC:

LC

17 comments

  • Hello!

    Thank you for mentioning my website! My pet human visited Morocco in December. Cats are everywhere, holding very important positions in society.

    BTW: The spelling of my site is “The Whole Kitten Kaboodle.” K instead of C for Kaboodle.

    Check back next Monday for the next edition of “Morocco Monday.”

    Luv,
    Skittles, The Huntress

  • Dear Skittles,

    I apologize for the error and have fixed it. LC and I look forward to reading the next edition of “Morocco Monday.”

    Best,
    Jillian York

  • Dear Jillian,

    What a wonderful post. And here I thought Israel was the land of felinity. Glad to hear that our neighbors to the south are equally as populated and popular with our furry friends.

    In Israel, people often leave bowls of water and food out for cats to eat from, especially in the summer when less natural water is available. While they do enjoy snacking on trash, or at least congregating near dumpsters, I have always thought that it was quite an hospitable situation for cats in this country. Glad to learn that Morocco is the same.

    Maya

    Israel Writer, Global Voices Online

  • Reb

    I have never heard of training cats to do much of anything let alone to guard chickens. I could not even train mine to use the toilet :(

  • 2008 it

    Almost half of Moroccan people are illiterate.Yet, this compassion and this symbiosis with their cats are not learned at school or in the books, they’re simply a natural behavior.

  • jill, lovely post as usual. I enjoyed your own comments as well as some of the above. What kindness cats receive in Israel! People don’t even do that in the States and we’re pretty cat-centric (of course, we haven’t go so many just roaming around…) LC looks like quite the character!

  • LC has plenty of pizzazz; what a personality. And really beautiful!

    If it’s OK I would like to post a link to your post on my website; I found your post inspiring. I’ve heard that Muslim countries as a whole are pro-feline, and I’m glad Israel is too. BTW, I’m in the Catlover Community, an online community of cat lovers. You can see this when you come to the front page of my site. Cheers, Rebecca

  • Thanks for such lovely comments, everyone!

    And Rebecca, it’s fine if you’d like to post a link – I appreciate it!

    Best,
    Jillian

  • My latest post “Morocco Monday” is up if anyone wishes to see more Morocco kitties.

    Luv,

    Skittles, The Huntress

  • Pingback: Jillian C. York

    […] I have no idea how Febreze found me or why they consider me highly regarded (perhaps it’s my cat’s celebrity) but I like […]

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