How to Cook a Cat

by Michael
(London, UK) try and cook me and you'll pay..-photo by Dan4th (Flickr - see link base of page) try and cook me and you'll pay..-photo by Dan4th (Flickr - see link base of page)

17th February 2010: A top Italian food writer has described how to cook a cat on national Italian television and been sacked for it. Beppe Bigazzi offered the recipe on the Italian version of the British television program Ready Steady Cook despite being encouraged during a commercial break to stop. In Italy the programme is called La Prova del Cuoco.

Bigazzi suggested that for optimum flavour the meat should be soaked in spring water for three days before being stewed. So we are talking about a cat casserole.

He said that cat casserole is a famous dish in his home region of Valdarno, Tuscany, Italy. He has eaten cat casserole many times and he says that cat meat tastes better than chicken, pigeon and rabbit.

Later, after the phone lines nearly jammed because of a flood of complaints, he said he was joking, but not that much!

Apparently, in the 1930s and 1940s in Italy, in the countryside around Arezzo people ate cat. And cat eating was not confined to Arezzo but in times of hardship it was routinely practiced. In the city of Vicenza the people are referred to as magnagati. This means, "cat eaters" in English. To differentiate rabbit from cat, butchers used to leave the rabbit's head on! It makes you want to become vegetarian.

So for people who want to know how to cook a cat, the answer is cat casserole and any casserole recipe will probably do as long as you soak the meat as described. But don't do it, please, as it is illegal in most western countries as it would probably fall under animal cruelty laws that are fairly uniform across Europe and north America.

Note: Before I go on, I wish to make it clear that I hate the idea of eating cat meat. Why? A lot of people think it is OK as it is no different to rabbit or horse or any other animal, they argue. But I disagree strongly. Cats are domesticated wildcats. They are human companions and not farm livestock that has been bred, raised and killed under controlled conditions to be eaten - although factory farming is horrible too. It is illegal to kill cat to eat it and that apparently applies to Italy as well as England (and I am sure in many other countries).

But cat eating is not that rare. Here are some more horrible examples for the record:

  • 1529: Ruperto de Nola suggested how to cook a cat. This time is was spit roasted cat basted in garlic and olive oil. The recipe included the words, "Take the garlic with oil mixed with good broth so that it is coarse and pour it over the cat and you can eat it for it is a good dish".
  • In Spain hunters have historically tried to sell skinned cat as a hare to avoid the generally agreement that it is unacceptable to eat domestic or wild cat.
  • 2007: the Australians' hatred of the feral cat surfaced when at a cooking contest in Alice Springs feral cats were killed and cooked. Feral cat is tough apparently. I hope some Australians chocked on it.
  • China: cat meat is eaten in certain parts of China. But China's middle class dislike the practice and have pressured the authorities to ban it. Proposals are being made, it seems, to criminalise cat eating with a penalty of 15 days in prison.

In book entitled, "Extreme Cuisine" By Jerry Hopkins, Anthony Bourdain, Michael Freeman, the authors mention that under the media spotlight poor people in Argentina in 1996 where reported as eating their own domestic cats.

They also referred to another Australian feral cat story (there are many, believe me) in which in the same year of 1996, it was reported that a certain John Wamsley, the managing director of an oraganisation called Earth Sanctuaries, recommended "pussy tail stew". He suggested people catch and cook feral cats. In parts of Australia it is legal to "ground shoot" feral cats.

In China cat meat is meant to be good for health and as the people become wealthier they can pay more attention to their health.

So there you have it, how to cook a cat. A concept that is abhorrent to me and I am sure all the regulars to this website but something that is quite widespread. One final twist. Euthanised cats both feral and domestic find their way into cat food and preparing that is an all together different way to cook a cat.

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Ground shooting of feral cats in Autralia

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Comments for
How to Cook a Cat

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Feb 09, 2012 Eating Cats Isn't Cruel
by: Anonymous

Eating cats is just as cruel as eating any other animal that can think. Cats eat meat, wouldn't that make them cruel, it is also healthy for humans to eat meat (not the corn fed crap meat from factory farms, but healthy animals that make healthy meat) Maybe I would eat a cat from a shelter or a really mean cat. I love cats and am working on a new breed (not a designer breed to make money off of, a natural breed from feral cats)

Feb 07, 2012 Soylent Green is People!
by: EatMe

There is a big problem with homeless people in most large cities. If we apply the suggestions on how to deal with stray cats (I don't believe in feral cats--only ones that have been mistreated by the least civilized animal on this planet--humans)...

Hmm. Read "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift...

Aug 26, 2011 Dinner
by: Anonymous

So no one has a recipe for a full grown maine coone? I think the tail will be the best it is so so long. Is there a good sauce to serve with cat tail; ever wonder what happened to the rest of the manx's tail?

Jul 26, 2011 Thanksgiving dinner? <-- Troll
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Forgot to fill in my name - I'm not Anonymous. 😉

Finn Frode avatar

Jul 26, 2011 Thanksgiving dinner? <-- Troll
by: Anonymous

Troll. Ignore.

Finn Frode avatar

Jul 26, 2011 Thanksgiving dinner?
by: Anonymous

I have a full grown Maine Coone cat, he is about 25 pounds now. Do you think it would be ok to cook him for Thanksgiving, and if so do you have a good recipe...he has big meaty legs. Funny thing is I live in the city and have noticed that there are no longer a stray problem, i live in a very multicultural area. Im sure they have all been consumed by hungry neighborhood families

May 03, 2011 good eating
by: ct******@gm***.com

A big problem today is all the stray cats and dogs
Instead of pissing away tax payers hard earned money on extremely over inflated veterinary bills for the supposedly old farts that can't afford to have their pets spayed or neutered have an open hunting season on them.It would cut the population down to a manageable amount , save we taxpayers money and feed the elderly who can't make it on SOCIAL SECURITY alone.

Sep 18, 2010 I wonder.
by: Margaret

I wonder how many people continued to drink milk during the height of the mad cow disease?

Sep 15, 2010 Cat eating yes its a taboo
by: Denius

I cannot understand why it is so much worse to eat a 'pet' animal (especially when there are so many stray and unwanted cats) but eating a carnivore is, in general, taboo and not part of nature. Lions and other predators eat vegetarians, not other carnivores. Dog that is raised to be eaten (yes I have eaten it in Indonesia) is fed only rice or other non-animal food. It's hard to get a cat to eat only vegetarian. But if you could do so - say maybe soy products - it would be healthy and in my view permissible. But what is truly horrible, as mentioned above, is the practice of rendering animal carcasses to put back into animal feed. Now that is true cannibalism. And really misguided, that's one of the probable causes of mad cow disease.

Mar 14, 2010 Thanks Ruth and Finn.
by: Margaret.

Thanks Ruth and Finn for your comments, Ruth like all animal lovers I absolutely abhor declawing, that's one of the differences between pet owners and pet lovers.
Finn, I watched the clip of 'To serve Man' on Youtube, it's quite comical now but I think it got the message accross.

Mar 07, 2010 To Margaret
by: Ruth

Thank you Margaret,I'm writing another article for my blog on 'more ignorance about declawing' it's incredible what some people say.
I'm not on my own blog much now as Michael's PoC gets much more attention and visitors and I've 'met' some wonderful people on here !
I'll have a look at that website, thanks for that too.When we had a CP branch here, Babz (my sis)and I ran the lost and found part and it was the best feeling when we could match a lost cat with a found cat.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Mar 07, 2010 To Serve Man
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

I didn't know the 'To Serve Man' episode of Twilight Zone, but I easily found an excerpt on You Tube. Love the closing narative:
'The metamorphosis from being the ruler of a planet to an ingredient in someone's soup.' 😉

Finn Frode avatar

Mar 06, 2010 Well done Kathy.
by: Margaret McCann

Good for you! Isn't there enough meat eaten in the western world without starting on domestic animals? I can understand desperation driving somebody to eat a cat but obviously some people have no empathy for living (or dying) creatures.
For some reason it reminds me of an old 'Twilight Zone' episode (some people reckon I live there) when aliens landed on earth, they brought a book with them called 'To Serve Man' the human race in their arrogance thought that the aliens came to be our servants, what they actually came for was to serve man up on a plate. How would we like that?

Ruth, love your blogsite. Have you seen a website for lost and found cats, it's run by a lady called Sue, it's national and international. spreading the word.

Feb 20, 2010 Good one Kathy
by: Ruth

Oh Kathy, that has really made me laugh and cheered me up no end !
What a good one ha ha haaaaaaa
You've given me the idea now...look out unwanted guests ......

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 19, 2010 kitty casserole
by: kathy

My idea of kitty casserole is to fix some Macaronis in a dish wih some cream soup and mix in a can of your favorite cat food. My cousins and I fixed this dish one time for a not so favorite drunken friend of ours. He didnt know the difference and ate quite well that day. I think the Italian cook should try it and add it to his favorite reciepes.

Feb 18, 2010 Flesh and blood
by: Ruth

It's no joke at all that an idiot broadcasted how to cook cats and I'm glad people complained.
Since becoming vegetarian I have become even more aware that all living beings whether human, animal, bird or fish are all made of the same 'material'
Eating any other being which had a face is eating dead flesh. Putting another being made of the same 'material' as me, inside me, I could never bring myself to do again !
A few years back an ex neighbour had been abroad and amongst the holiday photos was one of her eating a cooked guinea pig.I was horrified !
But what's the difference, if you eat meat you eat flesh whatever the animal the flesh once belonged to.
We really are wild animals ourselves.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 17, 2010 How to cook a cat
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

"One humans food is another humans poison", is very true regarding the eating habits of different cultures in different country's."dog Meat" is considered a delicacy in the Philippines , Korea and part of China. "Horse Slaughter" is common in some Western contry's and Japan, their meat used mostly in the "Pet Food Industry". "Ferdinand", the "Kentucky Derby Winner" was the most famous "Race Horse" to wind up at the " Slaughter House" in Japan, creating a furore in the U.S.A once this news became public, a cruel fate to a once majestic "Race-Horse"."Pork Meat" and "Beef Meat" consumption is considered sacrilageous amongst certain religions, yet a delicacy amongst most populations. In all this "Non- Vegetarian " taboo food habits of different cultures and religious backgrounds can "Cat Consumption" be considered unique? As cat lovers we can hope for the best of care and upkeep towards our own pets but definitely have no control over the rest of humanity.I am quite sure that "Cat Meat" is definitely consumed by humans amongst certain populations.
Rudolph avatar

Feb 17, 2010 Taboos
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Taboos are a cultural thing and things eaten with pleasure in one culture may cause others to vomit, but as far as I know the meat of carnivors has a very limited following.
Maybe it's because early mankind discovered eating it had some bad effects on their health - or maybe just because it was too dangerous hunting for. This taboo is firmly rooted in myself too and I have no intention of changing that.
Back in the 70's I actually spoke to somebody who claimed he had cooked and eaten a cat and it tasted like rabbit. I was not however not entirely convinced, as his story could have been caused by something he smoked instead. 😉
But allow me to confess that I have in the past eaten a plant eating animal that a lot of people have tabooed from eating at all - namely horse. It's not seem very often in the butcher's shop these days, so I reckon demand has gone down...

Finn Frode avatar

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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17 Responses

  1. Ken Lichtsinn says:

    I once went to a Sierra Club “pot luck” dinner where some jokers brought a blue plastic plate with a can of something in the middle and tortilla chips surrounding it. A few diners helped themselves to the “appetizer” and then some of us began to wonder what was in the can. It turned out to be a can of cat food.

    • Nice story. Interesting that they ate or at least partly ate the cat food until you wondered what it was so it must’ve tasted less than appetising but apparently edible!

  2. Calamity says:

    Starving Venezuelans ate their pets to survive, just 2 – 3 years ago.
    Or you can starve & die. ‘Splain that to your hungry kids.

  3. Rod says:

    Just to poke a hole in your not eating carnivores the royal. They are eaten all the time lots of seafood are carnivores,chickens,turkey,bear,mountain lion,pigs,snakes,gator, just to name a few

  4. Kikky says:

    This isn’t bad it’s like eating meat from another animal i mean i don’t eat cat but its not cruel to eat meat and for vegans out there it’s not healthy to not eat meat mo offense but its the circle of life if we didnt kill them they would kill us

    • Michael says:

      Hi Kikky. I understand you argument but I don’t think we should eat companion animals. We should eat animals that are reared specifically for eating (farm livestock) but we should treat companions animals differently. People say that their cat is part of the family, a family member. Therefore, throughout her life and after it we should treat a cat as a family member. We don’t eat family members.

    • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

      There is no need to eat any dead flesh these days, there are plenty of much healthier alternatives. Most ‘food’ animals live and die horribly, they are born simply to die, how can that be right?
      Animals don’t kill us, they only want to live and let live and vegans and vegetarians are very healthy people who do just that.

      • Michael says:

        Yes, it is time for humans to move on and become more refined in their behavior. I guess it is about development, evolution and being civilised! We are not there yet. Some people are more advanced than others.

        • Ruth aka Kattaddorra says:

          As long as we are trying to do our best is the main thing, it takes time but we can each do it in our own time and make a small difference and surely IF the human race survives, one day we will all be civilised at long last. But I think that day is a long long way off yet.

  5. roisin fagan says:

    I am having a dispute with my my neighbors and I would like to eat their cat as a show of my discontent about the situation…I caught the cat the last day and i put a santa hat on it and took many pictures of the cat so i can send them as a Christmas card to the nabours! cue evil laughing ha ha ha ha ha coff coff…ect!!! unfortunatly the lovley cat escaped even thow i offered it some salmon and tasty bits of food to faten it up for eating party fun time we planed! is there a way i can entise the cat to come and live with us and forsake the evil nabours?..nam nam tasty cat
    your sincerely
    roisin and co.
    p.s how long do you soke the cat again? can i cook it with out an oven?

    • Michael says:

      Your comment is either meant to be funny or it is the ramblings of a madman 😉 I presume it is meant to be funny. I don’t find it funny. Leave the cat alone and try and be a decent person. Your neighbor is irresponsible though. Have you discussed the matter with your neighbor?

  6. leofa says:

    ever hear the saying “there’s more than one way to skin a cat? the best way i found is to grasp the cat by the neck very firmly with one hand. not too loose or it’ll spin and claw the ever livin’ $h!t outta your arm and not too tight, you’ll break it’s neck and you need it alive and concious for the next step. now with your other hand grab an handful of skin along it’s back and rip it open. the excruciating pain and burning will cause the cat to jump out of it’s skin. now it’s ready to cook. bon appetit

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