Furry felines flourish in Morocco. And maybe they have for years. Not sure about the history of it all, but everywhere we went, there was another cat — or two or three or so.
One guide told our group in Marrakech that Moroccans like cats better than dogs. “They are clean animals. You know how they lick their paws and clean their whole bodies? Dogs don’t do that!”
Could be, we thought. After all, cleansing is part of Muslim ritual, so it makes sense. Whatever the explanation, we rarely saw a dog the whole three weeks in Morocco. In Marrakech especially, cats were everywhere — parks, monuments, the medina, and homes. We spied our first cat couple on the cobblestone plaza at Koutoubia Mosque. They looked like two old people camped out watching the tourists go by.
Cats seemed to have the run of the place just about anywhere, but especially in the Marrakech medina. Perhaps it’s because Muslims would prefer to put bowls of leftover food and scraps near the stalls for their furry friends rather than throw good food away. We liked that.
In Bahia Palace, it didn’t seem to bother the resident furry ones that hundreds of visitors per day passed through their home. After all, who’s going to let a few foreigners disturb a perfectly good nap?
Even in the early 1800s when the palace was built, special accommodations were made for this favorite of all Moroccan animals. See that little hole? It’s a going-in-and-coming-out place for — well, you guessed it. Now we know who really had the run of the house! (And it wasn’t the 24 concubines kept on the premises.)
Some cats, like this one in Chefchaouen (the blue town) seemed to be posing for pictures — much like the tourists do. (And, yes, you’ll see us standing beside a blue door, too, in an upcoming post on this charming town.) Ready, set, smile!
We’re not so sure that Moroccan cats even care that they might be upstaging a take-back-home, frame-worthy picture. Like this little critter who just nonchalantly strolled through the stables at Heri Es Souani in Meknes. We were posing so our guide could take what she said was “the one picture you’re going to treasure from this trip.” But here came this cat, just calmly photo-bombing our photo image from beautiful Morocco. Could it be that cat snobbery exists all over the world? Maybe so. It’s at least one thing we have in common.
As always, thanks for traveling with us. — Rusha and Bert Sams
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More posts on Morocco — Travel Series: Marvelous Morocco.
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