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meow mix

Cat

Generally, it doesn't make economic sense to raise carnivores for human consumption; too expensive. But in some parts of Africa, when cats run feral through the town (or belong to someone else) they can end up in someone's stewpot.


Peter Biddlecombe

spécialité gastronomique

Peter Biddlecombe describes his experience with cat meat in his collection of business-travel experiences in French-speaking Africa, French Lessons in Africa: Travels with my Briefcase Through French Africa (London: Little, Brown and Company; 1993)

. . . We stop at Chez Toledo. I have a Coke. The boy behind the bar asks if I'd like anything to eat, and hands me a menu.
'What would you recommend? Do you have anything local?'
He recommends the 'spécialité gastronomique.'
'Oui, d'accord, je prends ça. Mais qu'est-ce que c'est ça?'
'C'est le chat, monsieur.'
I think of what they would say back home. But when in Africa . . . The poor cat looked like a fancy rabbit stew. You could hardly recognize the meat, which tasted like hare. But there wasn't much of it. Cats in this part of the world don't live long enough to get plump. They are considered such a delicacy people can't wait for them to grow fat. Either their own or other people's -- they think nothing of snatching a neighbor's cat for dinner. If you can't catch your neighbor's cat, you can always buy one in the market. They sell for around CFA 2000 each, which in a country where the average monthly income is less than CFA 10,000 a month, puts it firmly in the luxury category. But why they should be so highly rated, I don't know. I certainly wouldn't worry if I never had cat again. (Benin)


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