Is It Haram To Have A Cat?


white cat
Photo Courtesy: Anel Rossouw

When considering buying a pet, cats and dogs are usually the typical choices. People view cats as relatively clean, but is it halal to have a cat? And if so, can you neuter your cat?

The majority of scholars believe that it’s permissible to have and neuter a cat as long as the cat is well taken care of and not harmed.

Table of Contents:

1- Is It Haram To Have A Cat In Islam?
2- Is Neutering A Cat Haram?
3- Is It Haram To Buy A Cat In Islam?
4- What Does The Quran Say About Cats?
5- Did Prophet Muhammad Have A Cat?

1) Is It Haram To Have A Cat In Islam?

As long as the cat is treated well and fed properly, having a cat isn’t haram in Islam. Cats are ritually clean, so there is no reason you cannot have a cat as a pet. (source)

in fact, cats are the most popular pet is Muslim households.

Abdul-Rahman ibn Sakhr, mostly known as ‘Abu Hurayrah’ (which translates to ‘Father of Kittens’) was one of the companions of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH). The story of how he got this nickname signifies the love Muslims have for cats.

2) Is Neutering A Cat Haram?

The majority of scholars agree that neutering a cat is permissible so long as there is a benefit to doing so and that the cat isn’t seriously harmed.

In simple terms, neutering a cat means the removal of a cat’s reproductive organs. This process means that the cat would not be able to mate.

Neutering a cat, in general, is quite a controversial topic. The removal of the ovaries could have benefits.

These benefits include reducing the possibility of the cat having diseases such as:

  • cervical cancer,
  • mammary cancer
  • ovarian cancer.

Prevention of mating could also reduce the likeliness of cats being affected with diseases such as feline AIDS and Feline Leukemia. Therefore, it could be argued that neutering a cat is helping the cat and therefore making it not haram no to neuter a cat.

Ovarian cysts and uterine infections are less likely as well. By neutering a cat, the cat doesn’t have the possibility of contracting these diseases. However, it may decrease the cat’s metabolism, which in turn could result in obesity and ultimately diabetes. It could also increase other risks of disease such as bone cancer. (source)

This is one argument used to explain why it could be potentially harmful for the cat to be neutered and therefore potentially classifying it as haram.

When asked if neutering a cat was haram, Sheikh Assim Al Hakeem responded with this:

When asked on aliftaa.jo if removing a cats` uteri (uterus) as means of animal birth control was permissible in Islam, this was the response given:

It is absolutely forbidden to remove the uteri of inedible animals because that involves torturing them and changing the form in which they were created. Muslim jurists have mentioned that it is absolutely forbidden to castrate inedible animals; whereas, doing this to edible small animals is permissible since it makes their meat tastier.

An-Nawawi(May Allah bless his soul) said, ” It isn`t permissible to castrate an inedible animal, be it young or old, but it is permissible to castrate edible small animals since doing so makes their meat tastier. However, this isn`t permissible with edible old animals.”{Al-Majmou`, 6/177}. In fact, this (castrating an animal) is similar to removing its uterus in the sense that both are of no considerable benefit.

Al Iftaa’ (source)

However, the majority believe that it is not haram.

The counterargument for this is that cats are anesthetized when going through neuter surgery, so there’s no torturing involved. This is also seen in this Islamweb.net fatwa upon being asked about the spaying and neutering of cats:

The scholarly opinion adopted at Islamweb is that of permissibility of spaying and neutering cats and preventing unwanted pregnancies if there is a benefit in doing so or if it would ward off harm.

The author of the Hanafi book Al-Muheet Al-Burhaani stated: “There is nothing wrong with spaying and neutering cats if it yields a benefit or wards off their harms.”

IslamWeb (source)

Furthermore, they add:

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen  was asked: “In the West, they spay and neuter cats to ward off nuisance; what is the ruling on that?”

He  replied: “If there are so many cats causing a nuisance and the procedure does not harm them, then there is nothing wrong with it because it is better than killing them after they have been created … But if it is the usual cats and they are harmless, then perhaps there is benefit in letting them reproduce.”

IslamWeb (source)

3) Is It Haram To Buy A Cat In Islam?

There are mixed viewpoints on whether it is halal or haram to buy a cat in Islam. The majority of scholars believe that is halal to buy a cat in Islam (source).

On the one hand, those that believe it is haram believe so based on the following hadith:

It was narrated that Jabir said: “The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) forbade eating cats and he forbade their price.”

Hadith sahih Vol. 1, Book 28, Hadith 3250 (source)

However, there has been quite a debate on whether this is a weak hadith. Al-Khattaabi, among others, believes that it is. However, multiple scholars insisted that it is not a weak hadith.

Some scholars believe that it’s halal to buy domesticated cats and that wild cats are impermissible to purchase (source).

Other scholars, however, maintain the belief that it’s haram to buy cats in general. This is regardless of whether it’s a wild cat or a domesticated one (source).

4) What Does The Quran Say About Cats?

Despite mentioning dogs, there is no mention of cats included in the Quran. However, cats are mentioned in Hadiths.

For instance:

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar:Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

A woman was tortured and was put in Hell because of a cat which she had kept locked till it died of hunger.”

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) further said, (Allah knows better) Allah said (to the woman),

‘You neither fed it nor watered when you locked it up, nor did you set it free to eat the vermin of the earth.’

Sahih al-Bukhari 2365 (source)

Learn more about whether it is haram to have a dog and why dogs are considered haram as opposed to cats.

5) Did Prophet Muhammad Have A Cat?

Many do believe that prophet Muhammad did have a cat.

There are multiple alleged stories about the prophet Muhammad being extremely merciful towards the cat, even some claiming the prophet drank from the same water the cat did.

However, a lot of scholars reject these claims saying that there is no evidence to support them. (source)

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