Do they eat kittens in the Ivory Coast, Africa?

Do they eat kittens in the Ivory Coast, Africa?

by Michael
(London, UK)

Ivory Coast 1966-74 -- Photo by iJuliAn (Flickr)

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Ivory Coast 1966-74 -- Photo by iJuliAn (Flickr)

This is a delicate question. I don't believe in political correctness. I do believe in politeness and being as accurate as possible. It is also important to separate fact from opinion.

I am referring to the Nobel laureate VS Naipaul's new book, "The Masque of Africa". Naipaul is a very smart and talented man. His new book has been criticized in the Times for being repulsive and racist. I don't agree with this criticism but I do find the subject matter of this post repulsive.

But I am not going to comment on the criticism but focus on the alleged eating of kittens in the Ivory Coast (Côte d'Ivoire). I can believe that this happens as bushmeat is not uncommonly eaten in Africa. It is even eaten in London. Yes, primates are shipped in and eaten in Algerian restaurants as I recall. Although I will presume that it is not a common occurrence.

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There is a tribe of Indians in India who kill and eat feral cats (no criticism of our Indian friends please note). This is an exception in India and rare.

The Chinese in the south also eat cat and dog meat. The cats are killed in a wholly cruel manner to improve the taste but I won't dwell on that.

However, it is with the greatest of sadness that I must report what Naipaul says in his book as it is news worthy, it is repulsive but it needs to be told, I feel.

He describes how he was told about "the best way of killing a cat or kitten" in the Ivory Coast. The kitten is placed in a sack. The sack is placed in boiling water. This is in preparation to eating it...I feel sick to the stomach.

Sometimes I feel that these stories cause me post traumatic stress disorder symptoms. And that is not an exaggeration. I can visualize this happening.

It doesn't stop there and there is an indication in the Times résumé of the book (22nd August 2010) that killing and eating companion animals, stray or otherwise, is commonplace in Africa.

In the north of Ghana it is said that they eat dog. It is called "red goat". In the south they eat cats. They had eaten so many cats that there were almost none left. This is what Naipaul reports back from his visits to Africa.

As I said, I find it completely wrong and repulsive. Many people in Africa and in the West including England and America, however, find it acceptable.

The argument is, "What is the difference between cat and duck or chicken etc?" The difference, for me, is that livestock is bred to eat and killed under strictly controlled conditions. Domestic cats and dogs are our companions. That is the deal. To kill them brutally and cruelly and eat them is positively not part of that deal. No sir.

Michael Avatar

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Do they eat kittens in the Ivory Coast, Africa?

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Sep 22, 2011 Thou shall not judge
by: Anonymous

In these countries, the people probably don't consider dogs and cats as companions and pets, like we Americans do. Although it seems "disgusting" to many of us, we shouldn't judge too harshly, because other cultures don't share the same values or tastes as ours.

Apr 05, 2011 How SADD
by: Cat n Dog Lover

How could people eat cats and dogs that is sooo sad. i love them so much, cats are adorable as can be. Dogs are playful as can be. I would scream at teh person if i saw them eating a DOG OR CAT. who thought of that? How stupid!!

Sep 13, 2010 Eating Cats in Africa
by: Lisa

Hi there
I absolutely love your website.

I can say that in South Africa we do not eat cats/kittens and it is illegal to do so.

I have spoken to a friend who lives in Congo and he says that it is a custom (horrible custom!).

It's disgusting, but then we have to think about the millions of animals that are killed for food, fashion, cosmetics and for entertainment.

Yes, we find this behavior horrible as we keep them as pets and form close bonds with cats, but to them a cats/dogs are food.

Sep 10, 2010 Do Indians eat cat
by: Ravikumar

There is a ire over V.S.Naipual writing about kitten being a special delicacy in the menu in Ivory coast. Do we eat it in India, especially in tamilnadu state I have come across people who say they have eaten or their grandparents have ate it when they were young.There is a also a uncommon myth sarrouding it, eating cat meet is good for health and makes you live longer. If we consider that Dog is a pet animal,then you please visit yourself to see dogs being sold openly in the markets in north eastern part of India, in Manipur it's ubiquitary site.So why we blame only Ivory Coast.

Aug 23, 2010 I hate this
by: kathy

I once saw an HBO special where they showed a lot of the antrocities humans do to animals all over the world. They showed the China horrors. Even the preparation of cats. I tend to get stressed out in the fall as hunting season approaches. I hate to think of it.

Aug 23, 2010 Keep it up Michael !
by: Ruth

Michael please keep on writing about all the shocking abuse of animals going on. People need to read about it because as long as they can bury their heads in the sand not knowing,it will still keep on happening.
You are doing a wonderful job here educating us as to all the abuse that is going on worldwide.
I think anyone who wants to go veggie only needs to visit a slaughterhouse once and that will have immediate effect.
Yes if we had to ask for a joint of dead cow or some rashers of dead pig it would drive it home that meat is dead bodies.
We are conditioned(unless our parents are veggie) to eat flesh and grow up accepting it and think that's just how it is.
In a way it's like declawing cats,
for decades it has just been something some families did.Not a thought as to the consequences to the cat. Thankfully nowadays young people are more inclined to think and reason for themselves, especially now it's so easy to get information on the internet.
Sylvia Ann, to be veggie you don't have to eat tofu, you don't even have to eat vegetables.
There are many substitutes now, we have a wide variety of menus with Quorn.The mince is fat free and tastes better than the real thing. The sausages have no disgusting bits of entrails in which real sausages do ....and so forth....
My physical and mental health improved tremendously after going veggie.
Some religion(I can't remember who) thinks that animals dying in pain and distress carry that with them in their flesh and this affects the person eating that flesh.
The stuff of nightmares.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Aug 23, 2010 Modem (Last Rites) - 3
by: Sylvia Ann death (which sounds as horrific as cats killing birds), is dining on kittens worse than chomping on calves, piglets and Cluckalinas? Mark Twain in one of his essays savaged a God that created a world where everyone eats everyone else. Though many animals are seen as unclean, stupid, insensate, common, uncuddly and easily dispensed with, it’s also true that some of us remember them as tenderly as we do our long-lost family.

Aug 23, 2010 Down & Out Modem - 2
by: Sylvia Ann

...foot cage in the downstairs bedroom, put a newspaper under her perch, and draped her cage with a flowered quilt.

There’s not much I can tell you about my girl in a few words…only a little.

Cluckalina loved to go bye-bye. I’d put her in a roomy cage raised up and tied to the passenger seat so she could peer out the window at the motorists, who honked and waved. She lost her mind over dollops of ice cream on our outings to the Dairy Queen Drive-In. She also was housetrained. When we were indoors either she was sprawled in my lap or perched on my shoulder, and every 40 minutes or so I’d hold her out at arm’s length and tell her to ‘go potty for Momma’ – which she did on the newspaper spread on the floor underneath her.. She learned to do this because she knew she’d be praised afterwards. On summer days out in the deck, she’d jump up on my lap and spread her black wings from my chin to my shins. She’d also stretch out on her back in my lap, her stiff, yellow, stalky legs and comic-strip feet sticking up in the air while I gave her a relaxing massage.

One day, when I’d had her for two and a half years, she swallowed a sliver of glass she found in the garden, and the veterinarian said the surgical fee could run into hundreds of dollars. She was my sweetheart – she was my girl – and I put her to sleep. Although that was 13 years ago, I still smile and tear up at her memory. Though I cook chicken for my cats, I’ve not eaten it since then.

From livestock to rodents, Ouida and Mudzel (‘the ‘u’ as in ‘boeuf’) were also two special friends of mine. That very nice gentleman, Poochu, writes that rats devour food people have harvested for their own use. Rats are bad news for humanity. Yet domestic rats are fetching little mites if you adopt them when they’re very young. Ouida and Mudzel washed their faces and miniature persons just as cats do, relieved themselves on a newspaper, got carried away with their catnip-mouse toys, were unfailingly sweet-tempered, clever and amusing.

When I came home from work in the evening, Mudzel would still be sound asleep. When I leaned down and whispered sweet nothings in her ear, she’d turn over on her back with her eyes still shut tight, affectionately lick my fingers and play ‘patty-cake’ while I babied her. She also enjoyed her facial massages. If she was playing hide and seek behind the refrigerator, I’d call her name to coax her out. While I knelt on the floor, she’d creep around the base of the refrigerator, reach out and put her two tiny hands in mine, close her eyes and tilt her head so I could massage her dainty little face and ears with my fingertip. She won my devotion because she reached out to mountainous me with those miniscule hands – she reached out across the vast abyss of evolution and trustingly touched my hands with hers.

Well, Ruth, apart from the way they’re put to....

Aug 23, 2010 Modem breaking down - doubt this will transmit
by: Sylvia Ann

Hi, Ruth -

As always, you radiate kindness in your refusal to draw a line between species. You lack what it takes to deny that their lives are as dear to them as ours are to us – we who prefer steak to tofu, who value our cats and dogs over animals doomed to death so we can enjoy a long life.

Nowadays the process is streamlined and sanitized: the farmer drives his livestock to the abattoir, and they come back neatly wrapped in packages. But years before then, I fed our calves after getting home from school. While Momma mooed in the next pasture, her darling sucked my fingers in the milk bucket. I still remember how those calves came running when I called, followed me like dogs, wanting to play tag.

Piglets who tried to come in the house – one or two managed to squeeze through the screen door - begged my mother for goodies, wagged their curly-fries tails and eyed her adoringly when she sat down on a kitchen chair, wiped her floury hands on her apron, picked them up one at a time, hugged and bounced them on her knee. She didn’t let my father see it, but once she sewed a blue gingham sunbonnet for one of the girls.

Our toddler turkeys and chicks with their barely sprouted combs and wattles were irresistible. (Don’t ever make eye contact, by the way, with a chick that’s pecking its way out of the shell. You’re sunk if you do.)

But then came the day when my mother paced back and forth in our parlor with streaming eyes, biting her knuckles and telling me to bang loud chords on the piano - fortissimo chords! - to drown out the screams from the barn, where my father and brothers were doing to the death our innocent friends we’d fed and pet for months.

How many people who’ve bought eggs and cellophane-Styrofoam chicken have known a hen up close?

One summer evening, Cluckalina wandered from who-knows-where into my garden. I barely rescued her from McWee, who was inches behind her, and closing the distance. From that day forward she sat in a cage in the house – that is, when she wasn’t inside my sweater, her beak peeking out under my chin. I kept her indoors for about a month, but when her chick-a-biddy cheeps deepened, overnight, into a mellow, contemplative cluck, I decided she had to adjust to a chicken coop with a nice run. Seven hundred dollars and one week later, I trundled her out to the blasted coop and put her in her straw nest. No sooner had I gone indoors, than she gave vent to yodeling squawks fit to wake the dead. I hoped she’d stop in a few minutes, but that didn’t happen. Instead, her crescendos grew more piercing every moment. I didn’t know what else to do, so tottered back down into the yard in my pajamas, scooped up my confounded Cluckaroo girl, carried her back into the house, climbed into the sack and had to rock her in my arms for an hour, to soothe her histrionic cacklings. Next day and a hundred dollars later, I managed to build her a 6 x 6-foot cage in the downstairs bedroom, put newspaper under ...

Aug 23, 2010 Understand
by: Michael

Hi Leah, I understand. Also I sometimes think that we should not read about things that shock us as it can hurt us.

Also I don't want people to think I am a comfortable westerner criticizing people in a poorer country. I am just reporting what I see and read.

There is animal cruelty in the UK and America as well. I am sure there are instances of people eating cats in the west too. Lion steaks are eaten, for example. Although these are not examples of a culture of eating domestic cat, which appears to be the case in Africa and parts of China.

Michael Avatar

Aug 22, 2010 Do they eat cats and dogs?
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

"One humans food is another humans poison"? In India, the majority Hindu population never eats beef, but, the same is sold and relished by other communities including myself.Dogs are a delicacy in Korea and Philippines and humans best companion pets in majority of Country's.Cats are eaten in china and as recently discovered through Author Naipaul, also in Ivory Coast.I distinctly remember a wild cat being killed in my maternal ancestral village inSouth India in the 1960's, same skinned and eaten.Recently during my tour in London observed a "Anti-Fur demonstration" outside one of the the World's most well known store ,"Harrods". Posters of cruelty towards farm bred fur coated animals for the "Luxury Fur Industry" were advertised, a horrible sight of "Animal skinning". I am posting a poster of the same for awareness against usage of "Animal Fur Products".Ultimately, in a "Globalised World" we humans are becoming more aware of different cultures and traditions besides our own, hence debates and also alteration of traditional ways of living in some cases.Ultimately, its left to each individual to make a difference to a cause.C:Documents and SettingsRudolph.A.FurtadoMy DocumentsMy PicturesTour of Europe(Saturday May15-5-2010 to Tuesday 1-6-2010)Slogans agaist'animal Fur trade' at 'harrods' of London.(Saturday 29-5-2010).jpg

Aug 22, 2010 Sorry couldn't read it all
by: Leah

Sorry Michael

I can't understand why these people do this they must hear the sreams of pain and anguish. Makes me sick and very sad. Not angry for some reason just very sad.

I couldn't read it all, sorry.

Can we do anything?

I rarely object to anyone eating meat (although I myself don't eat a lot) My objection is when the animal isn't killed humanely this is just awful. Ruth I agree with you if meat was sold as flesh would we eat it?

I too have never eaten Lobster because I couldn't be responsible for it being boiled alive.

Aug 22, 2010 Hi Ruth
by: Michael

It is awful and shocking for us. I am not vegetarian but almost! The older I get the more I see "meat" as "flesh". The word "meat" is designed to encourage is to eat it and to separate us from the idea that it is the flesh of an animal.

Thanks for the comment.

Michael Avatar

Aug 22, 2010 AWFUL !
by: Ruth

That is so awful Michael. I can't bear either the thought or the image in my mind of kittens boiled alive in sacks.
It always upsets me terribly when I hear about lobsters boiled alive, how ever people can pick the one out they want to watch die in agony, then eat it,I just don't know.
Yet to some people our pets are only food and I suppose in a way they are right in that it's no different eating whatever species, including human. After all we humans,also animals, birds and fish are alike in that we are made of flesh and blood,we have hearts,we have brains and we all feel pain.
We don't need to eat flesh to survive and once we stop we wonder how we could ever have done that.
Since I became veggie, to me eating any flesh would be the same as eating a person.
All 'food' animals are not treated humanely and they are certainly not all killed humanely.
There are examples in the Autumn 'Outrage' magazine,the least of which is a picture of a pig being cruelly stunned on the snout before being shockingly slaughtered. Apparently this one case has turned many people veggie. And this is just ONE case, it happens every day to thousands of 'food' animals.
People only see the 'meat' neatly packaged,sliced or tinned and can close their eyes to the fact that they were living breathing beings, bred especially to kill for food.
A friend who went veggie not so long ago said now she thinks eating any flesh would be like eating a corpse from a funeral parlour.
Walking past a butchers or a fishmongers now all I smell is dead rotting flesh.
I'm not criticising anyone who eats meat, I ate it myself until I realised I couldn't call myself an animal lover and fight for their rights yet carry on condoning their short lives of misery and slaughter.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

2 thoughts on “Do they eat kittens in the Ivory Coast, Africa?”

  1. Knottan Esjaydubbahyew

    It may be a taboo to people in established and westernized countries wrong and selfish to shame someone for eating an animal just because you think is “cute” or a can be a pet quite ignorant actually. I just disagree with cruel deaths and torture of an animal.

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