Cat meat or cat flesh is meat derived from cats. It is eaten sporadically in southern China, northern Vietnam, Peru, Cameroon, Spain, Argentina, Switzerland and in rural areas of Bulgaria. During wartime rationing, cats found their way into "rabbit" stews/pies and hence earned themselves the nickname "roof-rabbit" in Britain.
It should not be confused with a British usage of cat meat referring to the meat sold by a cat-meat man or '''cat's meat man''', a person who sold skewers of horsemeat and beef to cat owners in the days before packaged pet foods. Meat from (rather than for) a cat would more usually be termed cat flesh.
Consumption of cat meat
In southern China and northern Vietnam some people consider cat flesh a good warming food during winter months. The cat's stomach and intestines are eaten, as well as meat from the thighs, which are turned into meatballs served with soup. The head and the rest of the animal are thrown away. Organized cat-collectors in Nanjing's north-western suburb of Pukou regularly ship cats to be used as food to the southern province of Guangdong where felines have become scarce due to their use as food. In Japan, cat meat was consumed until the end of Tokugawa period in the 19th century.Hanley, Susan. Everyday Things in Pre-Modern Japan. 1997. pp. 66
On 26th January 2010 China launched its first draft proposal to protect the country's animals from maltreatment including a measure to jail people who eat dog or cat meat for up to 15 days. In Japan, Cat meat used to be boiled and made into a tonic as a folk remedy for neuralgia and arthritis, though the meat by itself is not customarily eaten.
In South America
Cat is not a regular menu item in Peru and is used in such dishes as fricasse and stews most abundant in two specific sites in the country: the southern town of Chincha Alta 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. In Huari, cat is consumed as repleacement for guinea pig, most used thruogh all Peruvian Highlands. Huari born people are often known as mishicancas .
In Brazil, especifically 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" .
Cat meat has been consumed in the city of Rosario (Argentina) in the middle of the economic crisis in 1996. As citizens of Rosario argued to the media, "It's not denigrating to eat cat, it keeps a child's stomach full."
Historically cats have not been eaten in the West. In Europe, cats are eaten in some rural parts of Switzerland although there is little evidence of this aside from a single tourist attraction with cat meat on the menu; the traditional recipe on farms in some regions involved cooking the cat with sprigs of thyme.
In January 2004, Reuters reported that, "Swiss culinary traditions include puppies and kittens. Private consumption of cat and dog is permissible. Swiss animal welfare groups say it is hard to estimate how many pets end up salted and smoked or in a Swiss frying pan each year."
Inhabitants of Northern Italy, particularly those of Vicenza, are still nicknamed "magnagati" ('cat eaters') as a derogatory term in Venetian.
Cat meat was also eaten in Spain in some rites of passage. The "cat stew" and "cat in sauce" recipes were found in Basque County in the province of Alava. The Spanish saying "pasar gato por liebre" refers to cat meat being passed off for hare meat, which looks similar after butchering.
Live cats were eaten for the amusement of others in 18th century Britain.
Australian Aborigines in the area of Alice Springs roast wild cats on an open fire and consider the dish delicious. The Aboriginees 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 man to harmful bacteria and toxins.
Eating cat is said to bring luck in some parts of Cameroon.
Because cats are carnivorous, consumption of cat meat is not permissible under Jewish or Islamic dietary laws.
Cat meat is enjoyed as a delicacy by tribes like Irulas, Ongole and Boers of Tamil Nadus Krishnagiri District of India.
Opposition to use of cats as food
With the rise of pet cat ownership in China, sentimental opposition towards the traditional use of cats for food has grown. In June 2006, approximately 40 animal activists stormed the Fangji Cat Meatball Restaurant, a local restaurant specializing in cat meat in Shenzhen, China. They managed to force the restaurant to shut down and discontinue its selling of cat meat.
Those changes began about two years after the formation of the Chinese Companion Animal Protection Network, a networking project of Chinese Animal Protection Network. Expanded to more than 40 member societies, CCAPN in January 2006 began organizing well-publicized protests against dog and cat eating, starting in Guangzhou, following up in more than ten other cities "with very optimal response from public." In 2008 a series of incidents have been broadcasted by the media on the increased consumption of cat and dog meat in Guangdong areas.
List of meat animals
Taboo food and drink
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)
Article on cat eating in South Korea
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Cat meat