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Cat meat

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Title: Cat meat  
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Subject: Meat, Chinese Animal Protection Network, Dog meat, Cats, Dragon tiger phoenix
Collection: Cantonese Cuisine, Cats, Meat, Peruvian Cuisine
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Cat meat

For meat eaten by cats, see cat food.
Cats sold for meat alongside ducks

Cat meat is meat prepared from domestic cats for human consumption (not to be confused with a British usage referring to meat sold to cat owners in the days before packaged pet foods).[1][2] Acceptability as a food source varies in different parts of the world. Some countries have resorted to the consumption of cat meat in desperation during wartime or poverty, while others believe eating cat meat will bring good luck or health. A number of cultures and various religions consider the consumption of cat meat to be taboo for humane reasons.


  • Consumption of cat meat 1
    • China 1.1
    • Japan 1.2
    • Korea 1.3
    • South America 1.4
    • Europe 1.5
    • Elsewhere 1.6
  • In fiction 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Consumption of cat meat

In most cultures, eating cat meat is considered taboo, in some cases even more than the consumption of dog meat, and it is condemned by many religions.


In Guangdong and Guangxi provinces in south-eastern China, some—especially older—people consider cat flesh a good warming food during winter months. However, in northern China eating cat is considered unacceptable. It is estimated that around 4 million cats are eaten in China each year, and that the number is rising.[3] However, overseas visitors are unlikely to come across downtown restaurants serving cat, which is only common out of town and in the city outskirts.[3]

The cat's stomach and intestines may be eaten, as well as meat from the thighs, which are turned into meatballs served with soup, with the head and the rest of the animal then thrown away. In Guangdong, cat meat is a main ingredient in the traditional dish "dragon, tiger, phoenix" (snake, cat, chicken), which is said to fortify the body.[3]

Organized cat-collectors supply the southern restaurants with animals that often originate in Anhui and Jiangsu provinces.[3][4][5] On 26 January 2010 China launched its first draft proposal to protect the country's animals from maltreatment including a measure to jail people, for periods up to 15 days, for eating cat or dog meat.[6][7]

With the increase of cats as pets in Guangzhou, following up in more than ten other cities "with very optimal response from public."[9]


In Japan, cat meat was consumed until the end of Tokugawa period in the 19th century,[10] though it has long since been considered unacceptable. Okinawans once ate a cat soup called Mayaa no Ushiru (マヤーのウシル).


In Korea, cat meat is boiled and made into a tonic as a folk remedy for neuralgia and arthritis, though the meat by itself is not customarily eaten.[11]

South America

Cat is not a regular menu item in Peru, but is used in such dishes as fricassee and stews most abundant in two specific sites in the country: the southern town of Chincha Alta (Ica Region, Afro-Peruvian mostly) and the north-central Andean town of Huari (Ancash Region). Primarily used by Afro-Peruvians. Cat cooking techniques are demonstrated every September during the festival of Saint Efigenia in a town of La Quebrada.[12] In Huari, cat is consumed as replacement for guinea pig, most used through all Peruvian Highlands. Huari born people are often known as mishicancas (from Ancash Quechua mishi kanka, grilled cat).

In Brazil, specifically in Rio de Janeiro, there are urban legends saying that some street-made barbecue is made of cat meat, which is called "churrasquinho de gato" (literally, cat barbecue).

Cat meat was consumed in the city of Gran Rosario in Argentina in the middle of the economic crisis in 1996. As citizens of Gran Rosario argued to the media, "It's not denigrating to eat cat, it keeps a child's stomach full."[13]


Cat and dog meat are still eaten in parts of rural Switzerland. Its commercial trade is prohibited by law, but private slaughter and consumption are permitted. A 1993 petition to ban consumption failed with the government declaring the matter a "personal ethical choice."[14]

In June 2008, three students at the Danish School of Media and Journalism published pictures of a cat being slaughtered in Citat, a magazine for journalism students. Their goal was to create a debate about animal welfare. The cat was shot by its owner, a farmer, and it would have been put down in any case. The farmer slaughtered the cat as well, all within the limits of Danish law. This led to criticism from Danish animal welfare group Dyrenes Beskyttelse.[15][16] Furthermore the students received death threats.[17]

In February 2010, on a television cooking show, the Italian food writer Beppe Bigazzi mentioned that during the famine in World War II cat stew was a "succulent" and well known dish in his home area of Valdarno, Tuscany. Later he claimed he had been joking, but added that cats used to be eaten in the area during famine periods, historically; he was widely criticised in the media for his comments and ultimately dropped from the television network.[18]

Cats were sometimes eaten as a famine food during harsh winters, poor harvests, and wartime. Cat gained notoriety as "roof rabbit" in Central Europe's hard times during and between World War I and World War II.[19][20]

In 18th-century Britain, there are a few records of cats eaten as a form of entertainment.[21]


Indigenous Australians in the area of Alice Springs roast feral cats on an open fire. They have also developed recipes for cat stew. Some other inhabitants of the area have also taken up this custom, justified on the grounds that felines are "a serious threat to Australia's native fauna". Scientists warned that eating wild cats could expose humans to harmful bacteria and toxins.[22]

In some cultures of Cameroon, there is a special ceremony featuring cat-eating that is thought to bring good luck.[23]

The Jewish laws of kashrut and Islamic dietary laws both forbid the consumption of cat meat.[24] Kashrut disallows the consumption of all mammals that do not both have cloven hooves and chew cud.

In fiction

In the American science fiction sitcom ALF, cat is considered a delicacy on the protagonist's home planet, Melmac, and was sometimes garnished with plum sauce.[25]

In the opening scene of the 2010 American post-apocalyptic action film The Book of Eli, the main character is seen hunting a hairless cat in the woods.[26]

See also


  1. ^ "Cat Feeding". Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  2. ^ "London Observed: John Galt - Cat's meat man on an East End street". Retrieved 2008-07-18. 
  3. ^ a b c d Some call it an indelicate trade, others, a delicacy,, 13 Jan 2012 (from China Daily)
  4. ^ Wang, Yu (2008-12-19). "Nanjing sends meat that meows to Guangzhou". Beijing: Beijing Today. 
  5. ^ Moore, Malcolm (2009-01-01). "Cat-nappers feed Cantonese taste for pet delicacy". London: Telegraph. 
  6. ^ "China to jail people for up to 15 days who eat dog". Chinadaily. Retrieved 2010-01-26. 
  7. ^ "Trung Quốc sắp sửa cấm ăn thịt chó, mèo".  (Vietnamese)
  8. ^ "Animal rights protest shuts restaurant". Reuters. Retrieved 2006-10-22. 
  9. ^ "Guangzhou bans eating snakes--ban helps cats". Reuters via Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  10. ^ Hanley, Susan (1997). Everyday Things in Premodern Japan. p. 66. 
  11. ^ "Campaigns - Dog and cat meat". Retrieved 2006-12-26. 
  12. ^ Cat-eaters' take note - feline feast at Peru festival"'". Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  13. ^ Macclancy, Jeremy (2009). Consuming the Inedible: Neglected Dimensions of Food Choice. Providence: Berghahn Books. p. 157.  
  14. ^ cite news url=
  15. ^ Walsh, Kevin (2008-06-05). "Journalistelever spiser kat" [Journalism students eat cat].  
  16. ^ Andreassen, Andreas Marckmann (2008-06-06). "Journaliststuderende spiser kat på nettet" [Journalism students eat cat online]. (in Danish) (Journalisten). Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  17. ^ Helmer, Jesper (2008-06-07). "Århus-studerende spiste kat - nu trues de på livet" [Students from Århus ate cat - are now threatened on their life]. (in Danish) ( ApS). Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  18. ^ Owen, Richard (February 16, 2010). "Celebrity chef Beppe Bigazzi upsets viewers with his cat casserole". London: The Times. 
  19. ^ "Cats - Friend Or Food". Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  20. ^ "Cecil Sommers. Temporary Crusaders. 1919". 1917-11-24. Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  21. ^ "The Cat Eaters". Retrieved 2009-10-12. 
  22. ^ Mercer, Phil (2007-09-02). "Australians cook up wild cat stew". BBC News. 
  23. ^ Ngwa-Niba, Francis (2003-03-17). "The cat eaters of Cameroon". BBC News. 
  24. ^ Sahih Muslim, 21:4752
  25. ^ "ALF - Fun Facts and Information". 1986-09-22. Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  26. ^ "The Book of Eli (2010) - IMDb". 2010-01-19. Retrieved 2013-12-05. 

External links

  • Website on cat meat in southern China
  • Chinese Companion Animal Protection Network
  • Chinese Animal Protection Network: Our work against consumption of cat dog meat (Microsoft Word document)
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