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Eating cat

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Right to be specific, many rumours of cat eating are just that and quite racist in over-tone due to the general taboo in many regions on eating cats. What I am interested in is the specific observation that eating cat in North Eastern Spain seems  to have occured in a manner that has no comparison to near by regions

The vast majority of recipes in these books are derivative from either earlier spanish sources or contemporary sources from other cuisines. Neither the earliest Spanish cookbook "Sent Sovi" nor the the Arabic "anonymous andalsuian cookbook" includes cat, and none of the earlier or contemporary european sources I'm familiar with do either.

It's this lack of correlation in any contemporary cuisines that has always made me suspect these particular recipes (there are only a few) as perhaps a mistranslation of another animal or the like?

I admit however to some bias in that I am squeamish about the eating of cats. (pets are not food, food are not pets...)

I don't think that any of these early Iberian sources could be described as "Spanish", and if eating cats is a regional activity you would expect patchy references. Speaking to my BIL last night, during WWII cat was on the menu in Chianti, this seems to be a common pattern of behaviour during periods of food crisis. Once normal food supplies resume, the old taboo's mostly come back quite quickly. Not in all cases though.

One thing that is worth pointing out is that in the most parts domestic cats are not pets. Anybody that has lived on a farm with a resonable population of "farm cats" knows that these range from the rarely seen and feral to almost friendly animals. It wouldn't take a great shift in perspective to see these as food, especially in regions were truely indulged cats (and their owners) as pets do not exist to re-inforce taboos.

I do wonder if eating domestic cat reflects a tradition of eating European wild cat (Felis silvestris silvestris ), which would be always considered as game and never as a pet. It's range tends to refect areas where actual recipes or rumours of cat consumption occur. From text sources I doubt that a the difference in use of the two sub-species could be determined.

Edited by Adam Balic (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello everyone, newbie and first time poster, but on the subject of cat versus rabbit, I read an article recently (not actually food-oriented) about a day in the life of a vet (in the Guardian or the Observer newspapers in the UK). It included an anecdote where he was eating 'rabbit' at a friends house, and realised it was in fact cat. So perhaps if someone has access to information on how to differentiate between the two, they'd like to share? Just in case I ever buy rabbit...

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  • 3 weeks later...
So perhaps if someone has access to information on how to differentiate between the two, they'd like to share?

Look at your butcher, if they are covered in scratches it's cat :biggrin:

My favourite quote on this must be from is from "The Oxford Companion To Food" by Alan Davidson "CATS ... are rarely eaten for reasons discussed under DOG."

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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  • 4 weeks later...


cut off the head and throw it away because it is not for eating, for they say that eating the brains will cause him who eats them to lose his senses and judgment.

this is interesting to me. almost like a hint at prions from eating carnivore brain. curious.

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