A Country of Cats


Morocco is full of cats. You notice it straight away, along with the ubiquitous satellite dishes and drying washing.

There’s no escaping them, so much so that on my first night in Casablanca, I was woken by the cacophony of wailing alley cats having a huge scrap outside my hotel.  Probably a turf war, as the streets are full of strays who sleep anywhere they find a space.  When they’re not sleeping, they’re sunning themselves.

In Casablanca, it was on the top of a car.

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In Marakech a motorbike was more appealing.

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In the picturesque hillside hamlet of Moulay Idriss, one of the locals wanted me to pay for photographing this cat sunning itself on a doorstep.  I dismissed him by mumbling and a side-step that would have impressed a rugby player.

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In the seaside town of Essaouira, the cats seemed generally fatter, healthier and better cared for than their cousins across the rest of Morocco.  “It’s the fish”, somebody speculated, gesturing towards the harbour area where the local felines compete with the seagulls for scraps.  We also often saw people leaving leftover food outside for the street cats.

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Dogs are noticeably scarce across Morocco, the result of a rabies epidemic a while back where many dogs were killed.  I did find these two gorgeous ones sunning themselves in Essaouira though and by the look of the last one’s teats, there are a couple of babies running around 🙂

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