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You will find cats everywhere: in the street, in the shops, in the monuments, watching the tourists, alone or in groups, more friendly or more unfriendly.
Cats , inhabitants in large numbers in all regions of the country and for which Moroccans have a special appreciation. Contrary to what happens in most countries, it is usually the preferred companion animal well above the dog.
According to Muslim culture, dogs are impure and cats are sacred.
In a culture such as Moroccan, in which religion is a fundamental part, it is advisable to look for an Islamic base to all entrenched customs. In this scope, we must know that Moroccans have two main religious sources to go to: first the Koran and secondly the Sunna, a set of precepts based on sayings and facts of the prophet written by his disciples also known as “hadiths”.
In that sense, the Koran does not speak at any time of the cats and only three times of the dog, focusing primarily on their abilities as hunter and guardian. Yes, there is a clearer distinction in the hadiths, pointing out, among others, that if a dog has licked a container, it is necessary to wash it thoroughly, while it is not necessary to do so in the case of cats.
Perhaps it is a hygienic question: Islam, like many other religions, besides concerns on morality, also tries to intervene on public health. Consider the case of ablutions: besides the symbolic and ritual character, taking into account the health problems that existed in the past, it was probably a way to avoid the mosques becoming focus of infections.
For the Muslims a hygienic behavior is parallel to a good religious attitude, and, because of that, the cat is preferred because it is presumed to be cleaner. Obviously, there is a whole range of interpretations, that range from those who claim that you should have just a few basic cares when establishing contact with a dog to those who think that you should avoid having any dog close.
While cats spend several hours a day cleaning themselves, eliminating parasites and dead hairs, dogs, as a subspecies of wolves, prefer, for example, to wallow in dirt to hide their smell and so that their prey can not detect it by smell.
Yes, that pet that you have at home and that you call with an affectionate name, even if you do not believe it, keeps the instinct of skillful hunter.
To put two examples related to popular culture, it has always been believed that the prophet had a passion for animals, especially cats. It has not been collected by any hadith, much less the Koran, but, according to oral tradition, the Prophet not wanting to wake up his favorite cat when he slept on him, decided to get up to cut a piece of his tunic.
In Morocco cats are sacred, while dogs are not.
With respect to dogs, the stories are usually a little more disparate. One indicates that if a dog walks through the desert, being a scavenger, it can get to extract the corpses buried there. Curiously, it has a certain historical basis, since it is known that Berbers once buried the bodies in shallow holes, changing them to deeper ones when they realized that they were being excavated by wild animals.
However, it is believed that one of the main cultural issues that makes a Moroccan prefer cats as a company has to do with his strong sense of community. In addition to the family, they take into account all the scales that make up the society : the street, the neighborhood, the city, etc.
In that sense, it is likely that they prefer an animal with greater independence and able to move and integrate in all corners of the city, than one that depends too much on the care of other. So much so, that cats do not usually belong to any particular house, but are cared for and nurtured by the community as a whole.
Be that as it may, the reality is that they usually prefer that cats be the ones that accompany them and this is just another of their cultural contrasts.
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