cats of Morocco
Cats,  Feline Fine Art

Secrets of Sacred, Mysterious Moroccan Cats

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

As the weather here in New York turns cold and gloomy, my thoughts turn to sunny places. What could more sunny than exotic Morocco, and what about those sacred and mysterious Moroccan cats? I could imagine them lounging on Persian rugs by the Casbah or sunbathing on cool patterned Moroccan tiles, but what do I know?

sacred cats of morocco

I’ve never been to Morocco but Safaa Eljaz has. In fact, she is Moroccan, based in New York, a cat lover and founder of Moroccan Zest.

Safaa loves to photograph the cats in Morocco when she travels on buying trips and has kindly contributed this guest post.

Cats in Morocco are Sacred Creatures

Think back to ancient Egypt when the cat was king. In fact, cats were considered sacred. We see evidence in historic images. There is a close love and respect for cats these days in modern Morocco – although not as strong as in ancient Egypt.

If you think your cat has roots in ancient Egypt, they’ll enjoy this relaxing.

cat woman morocco

In fact, Moroccans – who are mostly worshipers of Islam – follow the Prophet Muhammad and know he had a cat named Muezza. It is true! She slept by his side until one day when he went to prayer, he couldn’t pick up his djellaba, as she was fast asleep right on top of it – comfy and cozy. He dared not move her lest he tear the garment.

white cat morocco

Upon returning home, there she was, off the djellaba and curtsying before him to honor his presence. The prophet wanted to extend his thanks, or so as the story goes, He passed his hand over her spine three times in a caress. It was his gift to her. This privilege, or tradition if you will, has been preserved to this day.

muslim cat man

The story tells us how much the Prophet Muhammad loved his cat. In fact, it was to such an extent that he would take her with him to pray in Mecca. You would see him walking by, carrying Muezza in his arms. The love was obvious. To this day, cats are welcome in mosques. Muslims consider them to be sacred animals imbued with luck (baraka).

white cat in Morocco

The Cat is a Pure Being

In addition to being sacred, cats are said to be a pure being as a species. A glance at biblical texts tells us that the cat was included in Noah’s Ark. They did not board in twos but were apparently born from the sneeze of a lion. It was a boon because the ship was infested with rats. The lion feared they would bite his muzzle, but after sneezing, he gave birth to a few treasured cats. They could now go about their business and trap the nasty rodents on board. (Did Noah invite them?)

Such cat tales are legion, and each is a wonderful glimpse into a special creature.

black street cat morocco

No wonder they are so popular across the globe, whether traipsing on city streets or sleeping on their owner’s bed in perfect bliss. We think we know the origin of cat worship, but whether or not it is true, they are revered for their ability to hunt and destroy rats. Some Muslims consider rats impure, vicious and a threat to their food supplies.

cats on street morocco

Predator Cats

Yes, cats are innate predators despite their loving nature. They warm up to humans while being useful around the house. It is easy to win a top place in a home with a few purrs. There are many sides to cats, and a predator is just one of them. It has long been associated with the popularity of cats and why they have been allowed to proliferate. A clean house will have cats around at all times! Woe to any rodent who dares enter.

bengal cat morocco

They are pets, predators, loving beings, and purveyors of a clean space. After all, don’t they wash themselves constantly to remove dirt and debris? They spend hours on end licking their coats with their paws. They can reach the most difficult places this way – like their ears or the top of their heads. Thus, they have acquired the privilege of being symbols of purity. Whereas many Muslims consider dogs impure.

No wonder people don’t balk when cats sit on the furniture or their laps. They may sleep curled up under your chin or the most whimsical of places. In most parts of Morocco, they are respected and protected by offering them food and drink.

cats sleeping in morocco

Editor’s Note: Not all Moroccan cats live in paradise. Like every country in the world, Morocco has their share of stray or community cats and dogs. Veterinary services especially spay/neuter are urgently needed. There is a wonderful U.K. based organization who do amazing animal rescue work in Morocco. If you’d like to learn more, visit,

Help The Street Animals of Morocco HSAM

Photos in this post courtesy of moroccanzest except those marked Cat Wisdom 101 courtesy of Shutterstock Pro.


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