Do the Swiss eat cats?

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they eat cats in switzerland

If you start googling the query “The Swiss eat…” google itself will offer you the option – “The Swiss eat cats”. That’s an interesting query. Where did this opinion come from? How accurate is that statement?

swiss eating cats
Google search for “the Swiss eat…”

The cat as a pet has long been beloved by man and has become the hero of countless memes and funny videos. It would seem that eating such a cute and noble animal is a real wildness. However, even now there are those who are ready to challenge this statement. 

They eat cats in Switzerland

As it turned out, Switzerland was in the lead!

The Swiss have been given the title of cat-eaters. However, how fair is such a statement and where did such a fame with a taste of cat meat come from?

they eat cats in switzerland

There is a claim that cat stew is a traditional Swiss dish for New Year and Christmas. There are also stews and cutlets. If you look around, you can find recipes and reviews from eaters about the taste of cat meat. As if it’s a tribute to a tradition when peasants had nothing to eat and they started eating pets – cats and dogs. This tradition supposedly goes back to ancient times. But cats were the most unlucky in this story…

Chef Morits Brunno from Switzerland describes at length the taste, as he says, of tender cat meat. And he doesn’t see anything wrong with it.

The following legend says that the status of cat-heads was given to the Swiss by Soviet propaganda. In the Stalinist press of the early 1950s, publications began to appear about how bad life had become in Europe. This was what was written in a Moscow newspaper in 1953. The consequences of the great war, the decline in production brought Europe to the point where people began to eat pets.

But personally, I do not understand why Switzerland was hit, because this country has not fought and has always lived well. The propagandists must have been so envious that they came down on them.

The third version is modern. In 2014, the Swiss animal rights activist Tome Tomek published an article according to which 3% of Swiss residents regularly consume cat meat. That’s 250,000 people or 200 kilograms of meat a year. She urged to ban it on legislative level – after all it is necessary to save poor animals and for today the law doesn’t forbid it. To prove her point, she cited the statistics of missing cats – 10-20 thousand cats go missing every year.

There are also periodic publications with testimonials from those who eat cats – recipes, what cat meat tastes like, and information of this kind.

This version is supported by numerous publications in the Swiss press about the moral choice of eating such meat, and public activists have repeatedly collected signatures for a ban on the sale of meat and the eating of cats and dogs at the legislative level. However, such petitions were not supported by the authorities and the court did not legally regulate the culinary preferences of local residents.

But in fact the words of Mrs. Tomek are not supported by any surveys – they simply were not conducted, and according to another animal rights organization – the number of regular cat eaters in the country is about 100-200 people. This amount is negligible compared to the entire population of Switzerland. Therefore, we cannot say directly and openly that Switzerland is the leading cat-eating country. 

What countries eat cats

During World War II, the Spaniards in the USSR set up a special farm where they raised cats and used them for food. So say historians. In Cameroon and Peru the cat is cooked in a special way. It is part of the ritual at local festivals and such meat when eaten is supposed to bring good luck. 

In China, in several provinces, people of the older generation eat cat meat and consider it not only part of their cultural heritage, but also useful and warming for the body on winter days. 

In Japan, cats were used to treat diseases until the middle of the 19th century. Now they have moved away from it. In Korea, it is common to eat cats. The trade is conducted clandestinely. Cats are also eaten in Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Argentina, Indonesia and the Central African Republic.

Cats were once eaten in civilized Europe as well – Italy, Great Britain, Denmark, Belgium, Australia, and the United States. These traditions are more than 300 years old, although there were cases during World War II when people really had nothing to eat. 

In Islam and in Israel and Taiwan, there are both religious and secular laws against eating cats.

Friends, what do you think about these traditions in Switzerland and around the world? Write your thoughts and emotions in the comments!

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My name is Jenya. I travel around Ukraine and the world and tell stories.
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4 thoughts on “Do the Swiss eat cats?

  1. · March 13, 2023 at 8:08 am

    I live in Australia, am a historian of Cats, and it is not true that various countries have all eaten Cats. There is no book in English, German, French, or Italian about Cats, that mentions people-eating Cats. But the Internet has several Websites all about Cat-eating in Switzerland. It’s just Switzerland, nobody else has heard of it!
    As a matter of interest, South Korea has a habit of eating Dogs and Cats, and because it is a tradition, there is a Government Minister for Dog Meat. This is the Government supporting this old tradition, in that country.

    • Thank you for reading the article and interesting information regarding the Minister for Dogs in South Korea

    • I am a Chinese and a person who loves small animals. I also own a Scottish Shepherd Dog. First of all, I would like to clarify that some of the content in this article is problematic.

      1. China does not eat cat meat, 100% do not eat cat meat, no one would say they eat cat meat, and there is no restaurant in China that sells or makes cat meat.

      2. Chinese people also eat dog meat very, very little, only in two cities, Xuzhou(This city is located next to our hometown city, and our two cities are adjacent. Many of my college classmates are from this city, and I have asked them about eating dog meat. They all expressed difficulty and refused to eat dog meat) and Yulin. Only these two cities can eat dog meat, and not all people in these two cities eat dog meat. So the author of this article said that only a few provinces in China eat dog meat, which is clearly an exaggeration of the situation.

      Chinese people do not like to eat dog meat. In ancient China, due to climate change, there were droughts (sometimes lasting for 3 or even 5 years), and food production severely declined, leading to famine. Many people were starved to death due to lack of food, and many bodies on the roadside were eaten by wild dogs. In this situation, Chinese people had to eat dog meat in order to survive, But the article somewhat portrays China as liking to eat dog meat.

      Another thing to mention is that in the history of the Chinese people, during severe famines, they not only ate dog meat, but also human meat. Dead people who starved on the roadside exchanged children to eat each other, Every surviving Chinese ancestor has eaten human flesh, because in China’s more than 5000 year history, there have been 72 large-scale or extremely large famines recorded in written records. If we include small famines that last for 1-2 years, the number of recorded famines will be even greater. The latest major famine was in 1942, during World War II, when fascist Japan invaded China and implemented three clean up policies: burning everything, plundering everything, and killing all living things (including humans and all animals), Japan’s policy in China led to a three-year period of major famine in China (because the seeds of crops and livestock such as cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, ducks, and geese were all taken away by Japanese soldiers. Japanese soldiers killed all the Chinese whenever they saw them, and farmers were unable to farm. When the Japanese army was about to reach a certain location, many farmers began to leave, and all the slow moving farmers were killed by Japanese soldiers). Adrian Brody made a movie called “1942” about the Japanese invasion of China during World War II, which led to the Great Famine in China. If you have time, you can take a look at how tragic the Chinese people were when they encountered war and the Great Famine at that time

  2. Hi! I have being living in Switzerland for more than 20 years, I have even never heard about eating cat‘s meat here!