The Cats of Marrakech

What to do in Marrakech? Try cat-watching! Cherchez les chats. Cats and Islam have a long history.


Morocco is a cat lover's delight. They're everywhere, and they're well taken care of. 

Every day we saw shopkeepers and ticket takers at monuments save bits of their meals to put out for a stray cat. 

A woman locked up a cat until the poor creature starved to death. For this, she was tortured and “had to get into Hell.”

We had tons more pics of the cats of Marrakesh, but a djinni corrupted our memory card. So these are all just from our last day and a half in the city.

Like we said, there are cats everywhere. And most of them were sweet as can be. Click through the photos above, though, and you'll see the one mean kitty in Marrakech. 

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Cats and Islam

Most people trace Muslims' fondness for felines back to the Prophet Mohammed. He had a cat named Muezza, who’s the star of a well-known story.

The call to prayer sounded, and Mohammed wanted to wear a particular robe — but Muezza was curled up asleep on one of its sleeves. Instead of disturbing the cat, the prophet cut the sleeve off of the robe.

Duke and I can certainly relate. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve stayed on the couch longer than we planned, just so we don’t have to budge Bowzer. So far no clothing has had to be sacrificed.

The Prophet Mohammed stroked Muezza three times  — and ever since then, all cats have nine lives and the ability to always land on their feet.

“Islam teaches Muslims to treat cats well and that the cat is a creature to be cherished and loved. Mistreating a cat is regarded as a severe sin in Islam,” according to the Islamic Information Portal.

The hadith (a story shared orally before being written down) titled The Book of Virtue, Good Manners and Joining of the Ties of Relationship explains how important it is not to mistreat a cat.

In the story, a woman locks up a cat until the poor creature starves to death. For this, she was tortured and “had to get into Hell.”

Cats are loved, not only for their beauty, cleanliness and elegance, but for their practical purposes as well. Muslim scholars wrote odes to their cats because they protected their precious books from mice, according to the website Muslim Heritage.

As an added bonus, “it is believed that you will suffer no harm if you drink from the cat’s water, provided no impurities are seen in the cat’s mouth,” the Islamic Information Portal states. Bottoms up! –Wally