"Do Haitians eat cats" is one of the top 10 most frequently asked questions ask of Haitians in elementary school, middle school, high school, college, and even professional settings.

Unfortunately, many Haitians feel uncomfortable answering this question. I, on the order hand, don't have this problem. This is why I'm going to spill the beans and let you in on this little secret.

Do they eat cats in Haiti?

Haitian eating cats
Don't be scared, kitty, we are not going to eat you.
Eating cat meat is not a daily activity or a nationwide practice in Haiti. However, some Haitians do eat cats on December 24th in a national festivity called "Reveyon" which is a big Christmas party.

This is a practice exclusively known to a select group of Haitians found mostly from countryside villages.

Now I know you have many questions that need answers. I am going to try to answer some of them right here for you.

You're ready? Let's go.

Why do Haitians eat cats?

Contrary to popular beliefs, Haitians don't eat cats because they are poor and hungry. They eat cats because it's a tradition.

The practice of eating cats in Haiti is not a new habit but an old tradition started at the time of slavery.

For instance, runaway slaves hunted, killed, and ate wild cats deep in Haiti's forest and treacherous mountains many years before Haiti became a nation.

So the practice of eating cat is just as old as Haiti herself.

Do Haitians eat other types of animals?

Yes. Haitians eat cows, goats, sheep, chickens, pork, etc., but cat meat is a delicacy that many from the countryside simply can't resist.

Look...

...having a Reveyon without a cat is just like celebrating Thanksgiving without a turkey. Unless you are a vegetarian, some just have to have it.

Why? Well, again, it's an old tradition.

Why is it legal to eat cats in Haiti?

Some Haitians eat cat's meat freely for three reasons:
  • There are no laws designed to prevent people from eating cats.
  • Most Haitians do not have a human-like relationship with their pets.
  • Some see cats just like pork, beef, and chicken. So there is no discrimination.
There is no preferential treatment. Meat is meat--whether it is from cats or any other large animals. 

What does cat meat taste like?

Do Haitian eat cats
Meow! You know I can see and hear you, right?
Cat meat actually tastes like chicken. A scientific explanation for this similarity is that because many animals evolve from a common ancestor, they often taste the same even when they smell differently.

When I tried it a few years ago, that was exactly my impression. But to discover if this is true or not, you will have to try it yourself to draw your own conclusion.

Why are there no cats in Haiti?

It is a lie to claim there are no cats in Haiti.

Here is the truth:

Haitian's relationship with their pets is different from what you would typically see in North America or European home.

While pet owners in those places may feel comfortable letting their pets in their home or bed, in Haiti, the dynamic of the relationship is completely different.

For example, they use dogs to guard their home and cats to catch the mouse in their kitchen and gardens. However, this is where the interaction stops for most Haitians.

All that kissy-feely stuff you see people do with their pets in those countries are mostly unacceptable in Haiti.

If you see more dogs than cats in Haiti, know that it is not because they eat all the cats. It just that dogs are cherished more because of their guardianship ability.

So Haitian families don't often take a pet into their homes just because they want to. No. They will get a cat or a dog based on the family need.

Do Haitians eat cats in other countries?

No. Most Haitians are law-abiding people. They would never steal, kill and cook a cat in countries outside of Haiti. Trust me on this.

So if your cat is missing do not accuse your Haitian neighbors because pets go missing all the time.

In addition, should you now be scared of Haitian food because of this?

NO!

Haitians would never serve you cat meat without telling you about it. It is such an eventful thing, you would know about it anyway.

Remember, this is mostly a yearly activity and not all Haitians eat cat meat. Next time someone offers you a plate of Haitian food or invites you to a Reveyon, go ahead and enjoy.

Remember, eating cat is exclusive to a select group of Haitians mostly from the countryside, and Haitians don't kill and eat cats in other countries.

Conclusion

Do Haitians eat cats?

Yes. It is a tradition exclusive to a select group of Haitians from mostly the countryside.

Should you try it?

Maybe. I don't think it's for everyone because you may find it repugnant.

But you'll never know if you don't try. You may end up liking it very much.

What do you think? Would you eat cat meat?

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