Locals we met in the area assured us cat meat was never sold at the market.
Thanks to a UK-based cinematographer’s vague “accusation” on Instagram, social media has been abuzz with worry that a butcher in Petaling Street was selling “fresh cat meat”.
The cinematographer, Ragib Choudhury, initially posted a series of photos at a “Chinatown market in Malaysia” on Instagram. His accompanying caption suggested that he saw a lady butcher cutting up cat meat.
He ended his lengthy post by saying, “I probs oveerreacted haha.”
With many flooding his comment section on Instagram, checks today found that Ragib had deleted his lengthy caption, replacing it with a date instead: 22 June 2018.
However, his caption is still available to view on his Facebook page.
The cinematographer however has not reacted to any of the comments.
Seeing it for ourselves
While the Department of Veterinary Services Malaysia (DVS) has been alerted to the matter by concerned netizens, we decided to check the place out for ourselves.
What we discovered upon arriving in the area in Petaling Street is that the market in question is no longer open, having closed down three years ago.
Formerly a meat market, the premises remains unoccupied.
We spoke to some locals there and when we asked about “cat meat”, the locals said it was all a lie.
The cats in the cinematographer’s picture belonged to a pair of husband and wife who operated the market.
They only sold pork and other edible meat products, and the husband has already passed away.
The local also said that the cats were left in the market and could be seen roaming around sometimes.
We also reached out to a woman who claimed to be related to the owners of the market, the Choongs.
Lim Mei Ken said the husband, Mr Choong, was her uncle and she confirmed he passed away at the end of 2020.
With Mrs Choong being left alone after that as they had no children, she closed the market, taking the cats home with her.
“Since they didn’t have children, they gave all their love to the cat,” Lim said.
As for the signage visible in the viralled photos which said the cats were “not for sale” in German, Lim said it might have been written by a German tourist for them and she wasn’t sure why.
Lim stressed they never sold cat meat at the market.
She claimed there was a foreigner who took some photographs six years ago and uploaded them onto Instagram out of context.
She shared with us another photo of her uncle at the market taken by another foreign tourist.