‘Monique, not all cats and dogs are really cats or dogs’, Amadou explained me one evening with a worried expression on his face, after I had asked him why he didn’t like to see any cats in the garden.
‘You know, here in Mali we do have people who transform themselves into cats or dogs at night, just to be able to take a look up close at someone’s property. They are not good people. They are really bad!’, he continues.
I am looking at him in surprise and seeing my slightly puzzled face he adds: ‘Monique, it’s true, I am not joking or telling stories. Some cats and dogs here are huge, even the size of people. I’ve seen it. Children here love to chase cats, because they eat them. But, when they hit a cat, who is not a real cat, with a stone or a stick, it’s over, they will die after that. It’s really bad!’
The giggle or laughter that would most probably have come out if someone else had told me this, died before surfacing, seeing Amadou’s intense serious expression.
And all in a sudden his story brings back the memory and uncomfortable feeling I had one evening, probably in the first week at my riverside paradise, when at dusk a cat walked over the property wall looking around as if it was inspecting the place, suddenly stopping when he noticed me, looking at me intensely for a long long time, before finally continuing its stroll.
Maybe Amadou is right, maybe not all cats and dogs here are real cats and dogs…
Luckily I haven’t seen any cats lately!