Companion Animal for a Prophet or Witch?: Changing Place of House Cats in Contemporary Mali

Companion Animal for a Prophet or Witch?: Changing Place of House Cats in Contemporary Mali AbstractThis essay offers an analysis of how the spread of Islam across southern Mali has impacted relationships between humans and cats. Historically, Malians have generally characterized cats as familiars for witches, setting them apart from other nonhuman animals as signs of misfortune. Such attitudes regularly culminate in people capturing and killing cats, some of whom are kept as companion animals, without repercussion. But cat-loving Muslims in southern Mali have increasingly started to call such attitudes and practices into question, using stories of the Prophet Muhammad to defend the honor of cats. This article offers a review of the changing nature of human-cat relations in contemporary southern Mali by considering the varied rationales offered for vilifying as well as honoring and tending to cats alike. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Society & Animals Brill

Companion Animal for a Prophet or Witch?: Changing Place of House Cats in Contemporary Mali

Society & Animals, Volume 27 (4): 12 – Jan 1, 1

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1063-1119
eISSN
1568-5306
DOI
10.1163/15685306-12341549
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThis essay offers an analysis of how the spread of Islam across southern Mali has impacted relationships between humans and cats. Historically, Malians have generally characterized cats as familiars for witches, setting them apart from other nonhuman animals as signs of misfortune. Such attitudes regularly culminate in people capturing and killing cats, some of whom are kept as companion animals, without repercussion. But cat-loving Muslims in southern Mali have increasingly started to call such attitudes and practices into question, using stories of the Prophet Muhammad to defend the honor of cats. This article offers a review of the changing nature of human-cat relations in contemporary southern Mali by considering the varied rationales offered for vilifying as well as honoring and tending to cats alike.

Journal

Society & AnimalsBrill

Published: Jan 1, 1

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