Culture

Cat worship and other quirks

One of the first things you may notice when you come to Morocco is how many stray cats there are. But surprisingly most of them, even if a little dusty, seem to have a good life on the street. You might ask how is it possible? Well… People here simply love cats so they feed them and even let them come into cafés’ gardens. Nobody’s chasing cats here, so don’t be surprised when some furry creature will start asking you for food and pets while having breakfast in a coffee shop, or while having dinner in a restaurant. So if you don’t like the furry company, you better eat inside;)

Cats are defiinitelly the most common pets in here. Well, they can compete only with birds of all kind. So… Why are cats so special?

Cats in Islamic culture

The great role in cat worship play culture and religion. In Islamic culture cats are respected because of their cleanliness. Not a big surprise, eh? I still remember one song I learnt in kindergarten about a cat who washes itself before every meal and before sleep (so us-children should follow the cat’s example and be clean) 😉

In Islamic culture people claim cats are ritually clean, so they can enter any place. I even saw stray cats leaving and entering a mosque, and nobody was trying to chase them out!

Is this cat for sale? 🙂

Other reason of the cat worship is the example of Prophet Muhammad, who, according to tradition, was a real friend of cats and treated them with kindness and love. There is a leggend saying that once at the prayer time Prophet’s cat, Muezza, was sleeping on the sleeve of his prayer robe, so Muhammad preferred to cut off the sleeve rather than waking the cat up.

According to ‘ahadith (oral traditional tales about prophet’s life), Muslim can go to hell for mistreating a cat, like a woman from the story, who locked up and starved a cat to death.

When in Rome, do as the Romans do

So… Here I am – declared dog lover, owning a beautiful stray cat – Mimish (which means nothing more than a “kitten” in darija – moroccan arabic). He started coming at our door begging for food and within one week from a homeless beggar he became a king of our house. But let’s be honest, is there anyone that could resist those eyes? 😀

So, what about you? Are you cat lovers, or maybe you prefer dogs? Let me know in the comments!

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21 Comments

    • Magda

      Thank you! I like all the animals, but I never thought about having a cat. And now…. I’d love to take all of them home 😀

  • Melissa

    I love how cats are treated with kindness in Morocco! I never knew that! I have 3 cats, so I’m obviously a cat person and I can totally relate to the legend of Prophet Muhammad’s cat! Thanks! Melissa Damiani | Gratitude Grace Glamour

    • Magda

      Before Mimish came to my life, I was thinking that cats don’t really care about their people, but I can see it’s so much different. In result, I sometimes tell my husband that I cannot move because the cat is sleeping on me, so I can’t go to take my coffee ans he should bring it to me 🙂

  • July

    This is so interesting! And your pics are gorgeous! I’ve been on cat cafés, but not on cat cities haha I would die of cuteness. I am not a cat or dog person. I am an animal person: dogs, cats, cows, birds, pigs… hahah <3

    • Magda

      Kriselle, I also love learning about other cultures and religions. I enjoy how the people, their cultures and beliefs are diverse. It makes the world so interesting!

  • Shane Prather

    I actually had no idea that cats played such a role in Islamic culture! I am not personally a huge fan but would pet them while visiting!

  • Eden

    I love all this information about cats. I’m actually more of a dog person, but I recently returned from a trip to Morocco and indeed, there are cats everywhere! I didn’t realize the role that cats played in the culture and some of the historical stories as well. This was such an interesting read. I can’t wait to check out more of your posts.

    • Shreya Saha

      I am a big fan of cats, you can call me a Catwoman. And I love to find this post of yours where you mentioned that cats are worshipped in Morocco. I live in Thailand and people love cats here as well. It is so nice to know how people from different countries love cats.

  • Kevin | Caffeinated Excursions

    What a lovely post! I remember seeing cats when I visited Marrakech, but didn’t really think much of it at the time. They are also very common in many countries, especially Greece. So it’s really interesting to learn that cats are respected in Islamic culture and there is quite a bit of history behind it. Thanks for sharing, and Mimish is adorable 🙂

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