The cats of Morocco

The cats of Morocco

You’re on the Internet and you’re reading a blog, so I’m just going to go ahead and presume you like cats. I recently took a trip to Morocco, which I’m currently writing up in various parts — but to give you a little a taste of what’s to come, here’s a little teaser. A teaser made up purely of cat photos.

As in many primarily Islamic countries, cats are far more prevalent than dogs in Morocco. There is an abundance of kitties on every street corner and in every village. Our tour guide Hassan taught us the etymology of many Moroccan city names – Agadir means fortified town, Ouarzazate, ‘noiseless, quiet place’ and Casablanca… you can work out for yourself — and yet he forgot to divulge the meaning of Morocco itself. I can only presume it translates as something like ‘land of a gazillion cats’.

I think I joked on Twitter at the time about putting on an exhibition of Moroccan cat photos… but who am I kidding? I’m no pro, just another blogger with an enthusiasm for the feline form.

Scroll on for all teh kittehs.

Hostel cat. Likes: stealing seats, looking cute for breakfast scraps.

Kasbah cat. Likes: reclining in dramatic settings. Claim to fame: once snuck into Russell Crowe’s trailer when the Gladiator crew were filming in town.

Camo cat. Looks: sandy like the desert. Skills: blending in.

Hat stall cat. Likes: hats. Dream job: feline milliner.

It so hot. Paw so comfy. I so sleepy.

Scruffy, scrappy kitty. Sleeps standing up in case of attack.

Nature cat. Likes: sleeping in foliage. Dislikes: heights.

I guardz the eggz.

Teeny tiny kittens in a box

I found these two little scraps of life curled up in a corner of the livestock souk in the Medina. I was desperate to take them home with me and care for them as my own, but there was obviously precious little chance of being able to sneak them through airport security. I like to think that one of the cats nearby was there mother – I doubt they would have survived that long in the harsh, dusty environment of the Medina if they weren’t being cared for somehow.

Eyes open and head lifted… just.

This post provides just a snapshot of the Moroccan cat experience, and in fact my favourite cat encounter occurred when my camera had run out of battery altogether. It was late at night and we were wending our way home through the empty backstreets and alleyways of the Medina, when in the shadows I spotted a tiny kitten perched on a shelf inset into a wooden door. My friends continued on, but I knelt down for a closer look. As I did, I heard a soft chuckle, a slow “heh heh heh.” I looked more closely and noticed what I hadn’t at first — that the door was slightly ajar and just inside it was sitting an old — a very old — lady.

She grinned toothlessly and pointed at me, encouraging me to tempt the kitten away from its resting place. I followed her lead and the kitten approached me, rolling over to be stroked. “Heh heh heh,” she giggled again. She seemed to take great enjoyment from the encounter, and her amusement amused me in turn.

Her friendliness was symptomatic of nearly everyone I met in Morocco. It’s an endlessly diverse and fascinating country, and I shall post more about my fabulous adventures there soon.


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