Cats (and dogs)

There are cats everywhere in Morocco. Skulking down allleys, snoozing on doorsteps, lurking round your feet in cafes and sitting patiently in front of meat and fish stalls in the souks. I saw a lot of kittens too, sometimes without their mothers, who I suspect had gone off to hunt or scavenge. I saw this little family snoozing under a table in the courtyard cafe of a museum in Marrakesh.

Kittens in Marrakesh

Kittens in Marrakesh

Because I love cats this made me very nervous. I was sure that, since they clearly take their chances on the streets, sooner or later I would see a dead cat, or worse, kitten. I worried that I would see someone mistreating one and have to intervene, or see an injured one and not be able to do anything to help. This constant concern for their welfare was quite stressful, particularly in Marrakesh where the streets have the added danger of scooters and motorbikes zipping along with barely enough care for people on foot, let alone small animals.

However, I didn’t see any of the things I feared but did see little signs of care for the street cats. People clearly do toss them some food and let them sleep in their shops and stalls. I also suspect that a cat who has found human beings unkind would not have snuggled into my lap for a nap as this one did in the historic madrassa I visited in Fez:

Cat on my lap in Fez

Cat on my lap in Fez

I also came across this old window shutter in a museum of wood and carpentry in Fez. The label noted that the hole was cut to allow cats to go in and out.

Wooden shelter with cat hole, Fez

Wooden shelter with cat hole, Fez

I’ve only seen two cats in a week in Spain, both lurking around the Alhambra. Here it seems to be all about small pet dogs.

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