Is it allowed to have a cat in Islam?

Does the Islamic faith allow Muslims to own a pet cat? Yes, of course. I am not even going to look up the answer because I don’t have to. I don’t think anyone has to because one of the most discussed and known aspects of the Islamic faith is that the central person intrinsically linked to its popularity, the Prophet Mohammad, loved cats.

The information is all over the internet and in the books. Muslims follow the words and guidance of the Prophet. As he loved cats, he was supportive of their welfare. I don’t know if it could be said that he owned or ‘had’ a cat or cats because the concept of ownership is not a great one for domestic cats. Do we ever truly own a cat? We do legally but do we practically?

Depiction of Prophet Muhammad
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Depiction of Prophet Muhammad. Image in public domain.

Note: there are some more articles on this topic at the base of the page.

Back in the day of the Prophet Mohammad most domestic cats would have been community cats. They’d share their time with various people. As the Prophet was so good with cats there’s no doubt that they would have spent more time with him that other people. They would have enjoyed his company. His well discussed favourite was Muezza (Muʿizza; Arabic: معزة‎).

He was very compassionate towards cats. Apparently, the name ‘Muezza’ is of Arabic origin. It is believed to mean ‘cherished’ in English. Yes, his cats were cherished by him. Although the relationship between domestic cats and people in those days was different to today’s. And in Saudi Arabia where the Prophet Mohammad lived the relationship with domestic cats is still different to that of the West.

Abuherrira's Cat

A photo by Bloody Tracks on Flickr (an appropriate username if I may say so!)

I sense that they are not as keen on cats as Americans or the Brits, for instance. There are examples of cat cruelty in Saudi Arabia which surprises me bearing in mind the high-profile history of the domestic cat’s relationship with the Prophet.

Saudi torture of street cats

Saudi torture of street cats

I am waffling. The answer is that it is allowed to have a cat in Islam. And you should take care of your cat nicely and to a proper standard. Rich citizens of the Middle East sometimes like to have a cheetah as a pet cat. I realise that not many people do this but it happens and it is not a good optic.

Cheetah in car in Dubai

Cheetah in car in Dubai. Photo: in public domain.

If you see a Middle Eastern man with a pet cheetah it means that a cheetah cub was probably or possibly distressingly taken from their mother in the wild or in captivity. We should never do this in the interests of cat welfare. I am sure that the Prophet would have frowned on this self-indulgent trend.

A Muslim can have a cat but one of the conditions is that they are loving towards their cat and look after them well. That would please the Prophet.

Black cat in a mosque

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Imam Mustafa Efe with a kitten inside his mosque: Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi Mosque, Istanbul

Can a cat invalidate one’s prayers in the Islamic faith?

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Cat sits on imam's shoulder while he delivers prayers

Cat jumps on imam during prayers at Ramadan and he carries on as normal

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Cat on their own Muslim prayer mat while owner prays

Cats have their own tiny Muslim prayer mats

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Muslim cares for stray dog

Islam faith is unfair to dogs and kind to cats

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Sand cat

Prophet Muhammad and sand cats

There is a connection between the Prophet Muhammad and the diminutive sand cat (Felis margarita). Muslim tradition has it that ...
UAE Nurse showing a cat being shot with airgun. Courtesy of Fawaz Kanaan.

Some cruel UAE Muslim kids ignore Prophet Muhammad’s wishes to cherish cats

NEWS AND COMMENT - UAE: There is a tweet on the internet that has no comments and no shares. It ...
Imam Mustafa Efe with a kitten inside his mosque: Aziz Mahmud Hüdayi Mosque, Istanbul

Pictures of Imam Mustafa Efe conjure up visions of how the Prophet Muhammad interacted with cats

These are brilliant photographs of Imam Mustafa Efe interacting with the community cats which he allows into his mosque; the ...
Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.
Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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