Paws for Thought: Love for Felines in Islam

by 23 November 202125 comments

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيْمِ

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Paws for Thought: Love for Felines in Islam

Most of us would have had a pet cat when we were younger. Or, at the very least, we continually come across strays in our neighbourhoods which we have been feeding for weeks, months or even years. It seems that we just cannot resist these mischievous four-legged snuggly fur balls which have aloof imprinted in their DNA, but catching us by surprise – melting our collective hearts with sudden head rubs when we least expect it.

We rely more on our pet cats than we care to acknowledge or even realise! Throughout this pandemic, more people have been exploring opportunities to adopt with a 250% increase in global searches by would-be pet owners. The following occurred during April and May 2020, compared to the same period in 2019.In addition, cats are more popular than dogs in 91 countries which means you are not alone in being part of a worldwide ailurophile club.

Many believe that having pets, especially, during these challenging times help with their mental well-being. Moreover, we have a lifelong friend to boot, as long as the kibbles keep coming!

Cracking the Cat Code With Faith

Narrated `Abdullah bin `Umar:

حَدَّثَنَا إِسْمَاعِيلُ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي مَالِكٌ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ عُذِّبَتِ امْرَأَةٌ فِي هِرَّةٍ حَبَسَتْهَا، حَتَّى مَاتَتْ جُوعًا، فَدَخَلَتْ فِيهَا النَّارَ ـ قَالَ فَقَالَ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ ـ لاَ أَنْتِ أَطْعَمْتِهَا وَلاَ سَقَيْتِهَا حِينَ حَبَسْتِيهَا، وَلاَ أَنْتِ أَرْسَلْتِيهَا فَأَكَلَتْ مِنْ خَشَاشِ الأَرْضِ ‏”‏‏.‏

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]

As evident from the above hadith, it is deemed a serious sin to mistreat cats in Islam. Even Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was clear pertaining to the treatment of cats. They are not to be neglected, thus causing hunger. It is sunnah to feed them even if they are strays.

Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin:

حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ مَسْلَمَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ، عَنْ دَاوُدَ بْنِ صَالِحِ بْنِ دِينَارٍ التَّمَّارِ، عَنْ أُمِّهِ، أَنَّ مَوْلاَتَهَا، أَرْسَلَتْهَا بِهَرِيسَةٍ إِلَى عَائِشَةَ رضى الله عنها فَوَجَدْتُهَا تُصَلِّي فَأَشَارَتْ إِلَىَّ أَنْ ضَعِيهَا فَجَاءَتْ هِرَّةٌ فَأَكَلَتْ مِنْهَا فَلَمَّا انْصَرَفَتْ أَكَلَتْ مِنْ حَيْثُ أَكَلَتِ الْهِرَّةُ فَقَالَتْ إِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنَّهَا لَيْسَتْ بِنَجَسٍ إِنَّمَا هِيَ مِنَ الطَّوَّافِينَ عَلَيْكُمْ ‏”‏ ‏.‏ وَقَدْ رَأَيْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَتَوَضَّأُ بِفَضْلِهَا ‏.‏

Dawud ibn Salih ibn Dinar at-Tammar quoted his mother as saying that her mistress sent her with some pudding (harisah) to Aisha who was offering prayer. She made a sign to me to place it down. A cat came and ate some of it, but when Aisha finished her prayer, she ate from the place where the cat had eaten. She stated: The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: It is not unclean: it is one of those who go round among you. She added: I saw the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) performing ablution from the water left over by the cat.

[Sunan Abi Dawud 76]

Clearly, cats are favoured for their cleanliness. This is partly why cats are permissible to enter homes and even mosques.

In human cultures across the globe, superstitions abound and could prove detrimental to weakening of faith when left unchecked. One being the misfortune associated with black cats that cross our paths unexpectedly, for instance. However, there is no Quranic verse or hadith to support such views. Instead, we as Muslims should put our faith in Allah and only fear Allah.

In a nutshell, all positive and negative things that happen remain in the purview of Allah; and Allah alone, decides our trajectories in life, certainly not black cats!

Purr-fect Tips for A Healthy Cat Companion

Whether you are a first time pet owner, or have been one for years it does not hurt to revisit a couple of fundamentals when it comes to ensuring that your cat is happy and healthy.

Supply of fresh, clean water is a must. Just like us, cats need to hydrate in order to maintain good health. Sufficient supply aids digestion, specifically, in the transport and absorption of nutrients and helps to maintain body temperature. One myth that we have come to accept as universal truth is that cats prefer to lap up milk in their saucers. Like many of us, cats could also be lactose intolerant. Therefore, milk is not necessarily the best choice for hydration when, in fact, it could cause issues, such as diarrhoea which only worsens dehydration.

No doubt, the pandemic has been a challenging period for many of us. Again, just like us, our pets are not averse to becoming depressed after being cooped up in a small indoor space for a long time. Windows are ideal for cats to observe the outdoors which provides an avenue to kill boredom and passing the time. If possible, add a bird feeder that would provide more opportunities for a varied occurrences to be observed.

Ultimately, no matter what animal we come across or choose to have as our pets, we need to treat it right.

Narrated Abu Huraira:

قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَإِنَّ لَنَا فِي الْبَهَائِمِ لأَجْرًا فَقَالَ‏: فِي كُلِّ ذَاتِ كَبِدٍ رَطْبَةٍ أَجْرٌ ‏

The people said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! Is there a reward for us in serving the animals?” He replied: “Yes, there is a reward for serving any animate (living being).”

[Sahih al-Bukhari 2466]


  1. Ekin


    • Jane

      This is so lovely. I am not Muslim but I have a very good Muslim friend who lived with my family for a few years. She and my cat were fond of each other and he would follow her around the house. At first, I would try to keep him away from her door when she was praying, because I thought it would disturb her—he would meow to get in. But she told me it was perfectly fine for him to be near hear while she was praying, and after that she left her door ajar and he would sit near her and purr during her prayers almost every day.

  2. Maleeha

    Please keep such important wholesome articles coming. Personally, I prefer dogs but cats are just as precious. Forwarded this to my desi parents so they may learn some real Islam.

    • ASHLEY

      We adopted 2 kitten brothers last spring and being the first to have cats in the house was not easy but well welcomed.

      My nieces are soon to be adopting 2 kitten brothers too. (cannot still believe my sister is going along with it) We started a trend ☺️

      SubhanAllah, knowing that we are responsible for them in every way, definitely brings a different kind of love to our hearts. Especially our kids adore them so much ❤️

  3. Maleeha Basharat

    Please keep writing such wholesome articles. Personally, I prefer dogs but cats are just as precious. Forwarded this to my desi parents so they might learn some real Islam.

  4. Esteban r Nayles jr.

    I learned more.

  5. Nadera Farooq

    Ma sha Allah this beautiful thank you for this.

    Please can we have some information about what Islam says about dogs I have the basic knowledge but how to we deal with it if children really want a dog/puppy.

  6. Zulfiqur Haider

    Please explain me about dog also
    As it is the most obedient animal & ever friend to his master as demonstrated in sura kahf
    How do we ensure our prayers as itcis not clean as cat

  7. Layla

    I love cats
    We’ve got two

  8. Ahmed Tijani

    Maa Shaa Allah

  9. Nurudeen Mustapha

    Alhamdulillah I like your teachings because I always tell my wife to treat the a cat which belongs to our landlord good and give it food? I have screenshots all the verses so that I can show it to her Alhamdulillah may Allah reward abundantly

  10. S

    Assalamu Alaiykom,

    I expected this article to include other animals as cats are not the only pets available for us nor the only animal that contributed in entering heaven or hell based on how we treat them.

    For example, I would also like to mention another instance when a man was granted heaven for helping a dog to drink.
    Dogs are also allowed in Islam unlike the common misconceptions and the incorrect hadiths people hear.

    We are allowed to eat from the mouth of a dog hunting for us, and that’s in the holy Qur’an itself.

    Allah SWT mentioned in the holy Qur’an the fleeing of the cave men with their dog, the whole sura is called the cave in their honour. That dog shared their fate as well as protected them.

    Allah SWT made everything on this earth available & halal to us humans and only specified/listed the haram ones and dogs were not one of them.

    Some crave companionship but are allergic to cats, others are allergic to birds, dogs…etc if not allergic they may have certain ideas/phobias towards a specific pet or any other reason. That’s why Allah have opened the door for us to the many choices there is and based on each/every individual needs or case the choice can be made.

    I’m not against cats in any shape or form, I’m sure cats will be/are equally loved by many, but also so is many other pets too. As long as us humans are treating all animals with love, compassion & looking after them, Allah will reward us for it no matter which pet we choose.
    Assalamu Alaiykom.

  11. Ruth coats


  12. Abdurrahman Delange


  13. Zuri Kweli

    This is very enlightening and I appreciate your efforts to educate us, may Allah reward you…

  14. Vincent Byrd

    I love cats ????

  15. Khaled Neanea

    My mother is a car enthusiast. We had a cat a long time ago in 2006. Then again in 2009 & my final cat came in 2013 & is still with us till this day. Probably ☝???? of the loves of this family I’d the cat we have.

  16. Mary

    ShubanAllah ???????????????????????? but one more question!
    What about dogs?
    Can you tell me if someone had a dog? Dog is ok to keep as a Muslim?

  17. Abu Bakarr Baturay

    Very interesting thanks,

    • Musa Jalloh

      Interesting indeed

  18. halima

    I have four cats they are very healthy I give them love care they need.

  19. Ja’far

    Very informative and something that I am giving to my daughter who wants a cat. Valuable lessons to be learned.

  20. Ameedah

    After reading about properly treating animals I have reconsidered having a cat, as invited by my son in law. Haven’t completely decided as yet.

  21. Shabnam Miraj Iqbal

    This article provide an attraction to show care towards animals and get uncountable blessings of ALLAH KARIM Insha’Allah. JazakAllah khair ????


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