Is cat saliva filthy under Islam? The answer is No. However, it appears not to be clear cut. About 4 years ago I wrote an article about the Islam faith and cats, which was copied, almost verbatim, by the Muslim Observer website! The general conclusion is that cats are welcome by Muslims because the Prophet Muhammad liked cats. He was an excellent cat caretaker. What a blessing that is.
I wonder, though, whether, all Muslims treat cats as they should under their religion? I would expect, not, because not all Muslims will loyally adhere to their faith as is the case for any other religion. You would expect cats to be living in utopia in Pakistan but I have no doubt that they are not.
I have failed to unearth a list of constituents of cat saliva. However, it will be very similar to human saliva which is 99.5% water. We know that cat saliva contains enzymes that breaks down food and it is also known to contain a protein called Fel D1 which is the allergen that makes some people allergic to cats. That fact plays no role in answering the question in the title to this article.
Have you noticed how clean cats are and how sweet they smell? Whenever I kiss my cat I am very conscious of how nice he/she smells. Although I can’t find conclusive scientific evidence, it is believed that cat saliva contains a naturally occurring detergent-like substance that cleans the coat. This is what gives a cat that nutty, sweet smell.
Also, saliva, in general, contains antibacterial compounds. This is why you see animals licking wounds to assist in the healing process. They can overdo it and remove hair and skin.
Cat saliva will also contain bacteria that may be harmful to humans. A neighbour of mine, an old lady, was hospitalised for 10 weeks because of a cat bite. Unfortunately she let the bacterial infection from the bite spread inside her arm. Without wishing to be unkind to her, both the bite and failing to deal with it properly were her fault.
In conclusion from a person’s perspective there are good and bad aspects to cat saliva.
Is cat saliva filthy under Islam?
Cat saliva is not considered “filth” because of the hadith¹ that Abu Qatada related, that the Prophet Mohammad said that the cat is not impure².
However, “it would be mildly disliked” – referred to as “makruh tanzihan” if a person:
- did not wash his hand before prayers if his cat had licked his hand but only if the person (a) “suspects” that the cat had eaten something unpleasant or a mouse beforehand and had not licked his mouth clean afterward or (b) the person is uncertain about what his cat had eaten. Phew – that is very complicated! To be frank, I don’t think it is practical.
- drank from a container from which a cat had drank².
I have also failed to find a definition of the word “filth” in relation to the Islamic faith. We’ll have to take a common sense approach.
- A “hadith” is a saying or an act of approval or disapproval that is believed to have been made by the prophet Mohammad.
- Reference: Qibla.com