Cat on a dish

Purr-hibited Plates: Where Is Eating Cats Illegal?

The very idea of consuming cat meat is utterly appalling and unfathomable to normal people around the world. Cats are cherished pets and companions to millions, known for their endearing personalities, affectionate nature, and iconic purring.

It’s hard to imagine that anyone could even consider turning these beloved feline friends into a meal.

For countless individuals, the concept of eating cat meat is not only taboo but also morally repugnant, stirring strong emotions and outrage against such a practice.

Given the widespread sentiment against cat meat consumption, it comes as no surprise that many countries have implemented laws to prohibit this disturbing act.

The following is a list of places where eating cat meat is explicitly illegal, reflecting the global aversion to this controversial and deeply offensive culinary practice.

1. United States

Cat in the US

In 2018, the U.S. passed a law that made it illegal to slaughter cats and dogs for human consumption.

The Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act imposes fines on those found guilty of this act.

What Is the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act?

The Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act is a United States federal law that makes it illegal to slaughter, trade, import, or export dogs and cats for human consumption.

The act was signed into law on December 20, 2018, as part of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also known as the Farm Bill.

This law addresses the issue of dog and cat meat consumption, which is considered taboo and morally repugnant in the United States and many other countries.

The act imposes penalties, including fines, on those found guilty of participating in the dog and cat meat trade for human consumption.

The passage of the Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act demonstrates the commitment to protect dogs and cats from cruelty and reflects the widespread sentiment against consuming these animals.

2. United Kingdom

cat in the UK

In the UK, it is illegal to kill cats for consumption under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which protects cats and other animals from unnecessary suffering.

What Is the Animal Welfare Act 2006?

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is a piece of legislation in the United Kingdom that aims to protect the welfare of animals, particularly pets, livestock, and other domesticated animals.

The Act, which came into force on April 6, 2007, consolidated and updated several existing animal welfare laws, making it the primary piece of legislation concerning animal welfare in England and Wales.

Separate legislation covers Scotland (the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006) and Northern Ireland (the Welfare of Animals Act (Northern Ireland) 2011).

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 sets forth the legal obligations of pet owners and those responsible for animals, making it a criminal offense to cause unnecessary suffering to any animal or to fail to provide for an animal’s welfare needs.

The Act also outlines various offenses related to animal fighting, such as dog fighting, and introduces the concept of a “duty of care” for those in charge of animals.

Under the Act, individuals found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering or neglecting the welfare needs of animals can face penalties, including fines, imprisonment, or both.

The Act also grants powers to local authorities and animal welfare organizations, such as the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), to enforce its provisions and take action to protect animals at risk.

3. Taiwan

Taiwan enacted a law in 2017 that prohibits the slaughter of cats and dogs for human consumption, with fines and potential imprisonment for those found guilty.

4. Australia

While there is no specific law prohibiting the consumption of cat meat, killing a cat for food could be considered animal cruelty, which is illegal under state and territory animal welfare laws.

5. Germany

Cat in Germany

The Animal Welfare Act prohibits the killing of vertebrates without proper reason, which would include killing cats for consumption.

6. Italy

Italian law considers it a crime to kill pets for food, punishable by fines and imprisonment.

7. France

Killing cats for consumption would fall under animal cruelty laws and could result in penalties.

8. Belgium

The Belgian Animal Welfare Act of 1986 forbids the killing of cats for consumption, as the process itself is considered unnecessary suffering.

9. Sweden

Killing a cat for food is considered animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act and is punishable by fines or imprisonment. Swedish people are some of the friendliest and most decent people I’ve ever met. And they love animals, so this is no surprise.

10. Spain

Spanish law protects companion animals from abuse, and killing a cat for consumption could be considered a violation of these laws.

11. Netherlands

The Dutch Animal Welfare Act prohibits the killing of animals without proper reason, which would include killing cats for consumption.

12. New Zealand

While there is no specific law prohibiting the consumption of cat meat, it is considered animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act, which is punishable by fines or imprisonment.

13. Canada

Although there is no federal law explicitly banning cat meat consumption, provincial animal welfare laws generally prohibit causing unnecessary suffering to animals, which could include killing cats for food.

Where Is Cat Meat Consumed?

While eating cat is considered taboo and is illegal in many parts of the world, there are a few regions where cat meat has historically been consumed.

For example, in some parts of Southern China and Northern Vietnam, cat meat is sometimes used in a dish called “Thịt mèo” or “Little Tiger.”

It’s important to note, however, that this practice is highly controversial and is considered illegal and immoral by many.

In some parts of South America, such as Peru, cat meat has been used in traditional dishes during specific festivals, like the annual ‘Gastronomic Festival of the Cat’ (La Festival Gastronomico del Gato) in the district of La Quebrada.

This festival was highly controversial and has faced a lot of backlash.

That said, these practices are far from mainstream and are generally frowned upon by the global community due to animal welfare concerns.

Annual Religious Festival in Peru (Video)


Thankfully the consumption of cat meat is considered taboo almost universally.

Personally, I would never intentionally visit a location where cats are not treated with the dignity and respect they deserve, much less a place where their consumption is permitted.

* This article painfully highlights why the fight for animal rights must never stop.
"In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this."
-- Terry Pratchett

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