Islam and Cats
I know that both Judaism and Islam place importance on the humane treatment of animals, but why do cats have a special place in Islam?
Shalom, from a Jewish Cat lover!
In many culture cats are revered and in ancient times they were often worshipped.
In Islam we also have a special relationship with cats, the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was known to be particularly kind to cats. There are many stories about a cat Muhammad (ﷺ) owned named Muezza, so much of the affinity stems from this relationship. However there is no basis for this story in the Quran and hadith. However, cats are still elevated to a high position within the Islamic tradition as is documented below:
Mistreating cats is a sin
Narrated Ibn `Umar:
The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “A woman entered the (Hell) Fire because of a cat which she had tied, neither giving it food nor setting it free to eat from the vermin of the earth. ”
Sahih al-Bukhari 3318
You are not allowed to buy or sell a cat
The Prophet (ﷺ) forbade payment for cat.
Sunan Abi Dawud 3480
lt was narrated from Abu Az-Zubair that Jabir said:
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) forbade the price of a cat.”
Sunan Ibn Majah
Abu Zubair said:
I asked Jabir about the price of a dog and a cat; he said: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) disapproved of that.
If a cat passes in front of you while praying it does not invalidate prayer
It was narrated from Abu Hurairah that:
The Messenger of Allah said: “Cats do not invalidate the prayer, because they are one of the things that are useful in the house.”
Sunan Ibn Majah
Cats are considered clean animals
Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin:
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 Abu Dawood
Abu Hurairab narrated that :
the Prophet said: “Wash the vessel the dog has drunk from seven times: the first or the last of them with dirt. And when the cat drinks out of it, was it once.”
Jami at-Tirmidhi 91