The people of Morocco love their cats and tolerate having them around more than any other culture I’ve experienced and after two years of full-time travel, I saw quite a few. During my three months in the country, it was so hard to not want to take many of them, though it was clear that even the street cats were well taken care of. Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country and cats are well respected in Islam and this was never more clear than on the streets. I never once saw anyone chase or harm a cat and there were piles of food for them left all over. Also, the majority of the cats were very friendly and would come right up and ask for love.
Looking into this little kittens earth colored eyes made want to scoop into my backpack and take her along. We went back to visit Essaouira again a few weeks later and she was bigger and still thriving.
It was starting to turn cold in Imlil which is nestled in the Atlas Mountains. When I was shopping for a hat I saw a whole litter of kittens playing. They were a bit shy and hid in the stack of tagines that were for sale. Tagines are used to cook the traditional stew-like dishes common to North Africa.
The streets of the coastal town of Essaouira are quieter than some of the other intense Moroccan cities and the cats were the most friendly of a country full of loving cats.
The streets of the medinas (the old parts of the cities) are mazelike, particularly the markets where, as an American, I had to get used to seeing meat on display out in the open. It wasn’t uncommon to see cats staring at the butchers with hope in their eyes.
On the streets of Casablanca there were often rows and rows of used shoes laid out for shoppers to pick through. Cats really can make a bed anywhere.
In Marrakesh, the piles of wares for sale are so vast it’s sometimes easy to overlook the cats that are often scattered in among them.
Cats of all sized from teeny one like this sweetheart to monster cats down by the dock eating fish scraps all day long.
I was always shocked a the places a cat could make a bed in Fes.
This sassy cat belonged to the owner of the riad (home converted to a hotel) where we were staying. She would climb into my lap when I was working downstairs and she would swat at me if I tried to move her off of my lap.
The tile work in Fes is some of the most beautiful in all of Morocco and even cats seemed drawn to it.
Looking for love in all the right places in Merzouga.
In the small medina in Casablanca this little duo wasn’t bothered at all when I started looking at the art around them.
This is one of my favorite photos from Essaouira. It had been raining a lot and some kind soul had made this little, waterproofed, cat house for a momma and her litter of babies. I passed by here every day to check on them, and they always had fresh water and food and clean bedding.