Why Are There So Many Cats in Morocco? Interesting Answer!


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Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM)

Veterinarian

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Whether you’re taking a trip to Morocco or you’ve simply heard there are a lot of cats there, it’s natural to ask why there are so many cats in Morocco in the first place.

The overabundance of feral cats in Morocco comes from some strong cultural differences that we’ll highlight for you here. But how many cats are in Morocco, and what risks and benefits do they present? We’ll answer all those questions and more for you below.

divider-catWhy Are There So Many Cats in Morocco?

Roughly 99% of people in Morocco are Muslim, and since the prophet Mohammad repeatedly praised and highlighted felines, it makes sense that people in Morocco respect cats.

The prophet Mohammad praised cats for their cleanliness, stated that “affection for cats is part of faith,” and criticized a woman for caging and starving her cat. If these aren’t enough references to cats, there are plenty more references placing cats in high esteem throughout the Quran.

This is why you can find cats welcomed throughout much of Morocco, while people in Morocco don’t tolerate other animals, such as dogs, as much. But keep in mind that people in Morocco don’t typically keep either dogs or cats as pets, they simply tolerate and treat cats far more fondly.

Stray cats on the streets of Cyprus
Image Credit: Oxana Oliferovskaya, Shutterstock

How Many Cats Are There in Morocco?

While there are undoubtedly tons of cats in Morocco, since almost all of them are feral, it’s pretty much impossible to get an accurate number of how many stray cats there are in Morocco. There are cats near just about every food vendor and market, and this is something you can find throughout the entire country.

While we can’t say just how many cats there are in Morocco, we can say that there are an estimated 600 million cats globally, so it’s not unreasonable to think that a fair percentage might be in Morocco!

Dangers of Stray Cats in Morocco

If you happen to visit Morocco it’s easy to want to pick up, pet, or play with the cats there. And while many people do, it’s generally a good idea not to touch feral cats. While they might be cute, they’re still feral and some might carry a few diseases. Below, we’ve highlighted three different diseases you can get from a feral cat in Morocco.

Rabies

This is by far the most serious disease a feral cat can give you. Rabies is a life-threatening disease, and it’s easy to spread. While simply petting a cat with rabies won’t give it to you, if the cat scratches or bites you it can spread this way.

Cute stray cat relaxing on a sidewalk in the Old Town of Kotor
Image Credit: Mazur Travel, Shutterstock

Ringworm

Ringworm isn’t the most serious disease with prompt treatment, but it can be pretty irritating, and you’ll need medical attention to treat it. Even worse, you can get ringworm by simply petting a feral cat. Ringworm is a big reason you shouldn’t pet feral cats in Morocco.

Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis isn’t the most common disease out there, but if you interact with feral cats, it’s possible to get it. Toxoplasmosis comes from a parasite, and in most people, it doesn’t present many symptoms. Sometimes you’ll get flu-like symptoms, but usually it will clear up on its own.

a stray cat walking on sand seeking attention
Image Credit: dimitrisvetsikas1969, Pixabay

Feral Cats and Pest Control

While there are plenty of potential issues of having so many feral cats in Morocco, it’s not all negative. One area where all these feral cats make a huge positive difference in pest control. Feral cats love to hunt, and some of their favorite targets include mice and rats.

Anywhere there are a lot of people, mice and rats thrive. These rodents spread disease and have no problem getting close to people. Feral cats help control rodent populations, and for the most part, they stay away from people.

divider-cat

Final Thoughts

If you ever get to visit Morocco, prepare yourself for cats. They’re just about everywhere, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. While there are programs to help control the population, there are still plenty of feral cats around.

They’re simply a part of the culture, and they serve a practical purpose for many of the food vendors and markets throughout the country.


Featured Image Credit: Galyna Andrushko, Shutterstock



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