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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Officials Cancel Peruvian Plan For Feline Feast

LIMA, Peru -- At least 50 household cats were granted one more life when city officials canceled a food festival that had the felines as the main course.

The event, billed as the First Gastronomic Festival of the Cat, was scheduled to be held over the weekend in the town of La Quebrada, near San Luis de Canete, 148 kilometers south of Lima.

The event was widely advertised in print featuring a picture of a mouse -- chasing a cat.

The Peruvian humane society, however, was not amused, and joined with health officials and hundreds of cat lovers in a protest. Humane Society president Rosario Quintanilla declared that the festival should be banned as a retrograde tradition.

Just as the festival was about to start -- the band had set up, crates of chilled beer were in place and some 50 plump cats ready for the grill -- health authorities showed up to cancel the event, alleging violations of the municipal health code.

The scores of Peruvian visitors and foreign tourists were unable to taste the various cat recipes, including grilled, roasted and steamed feline.

The custom of eating cat dates from Peru's period as a Spanish colony, from the early 16th to the late 19th centuries.

Lima artists and singers meet, often in semi-secret downtown rooftop gatherings, and roast stray cats to the accompaniment of folk music and song.