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FAQ

 AlKafi 1753

 

Question:

Assalamualaikum. I would like to ask a question. What is the ruling of feeding stray cats to the extent of causing inconvenience to the neighbours when the cats poop at the yard? Thank you.

Brief Answer:

Originally, it is Sunnah to feed the stray cats as long as it doesn’t cause disturbance to the public.

Hence, priority should be given based on the situation. If feeding stray cats may disturb and upset the neighbours due to the poop and unwelcome odour, then the action is not encouraged in order to ensure peace and harmony among neighbours.

It is best to consider the best way of balancing between these two good things, which are maintaining the relationship between neighbours as well as feeding the stray cats.

Answer:

Feeding stray cats is one of rightful acts and Islam teaches its ummah to always do good among being even towards the animals. The Prophet PBUH told a story on good act done by a prostitute that all her sins be forgiven by merely feeding a thirsty dog using her shoe. This is as mentioned in a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA where the Prophet PBUH said:

أَنَّ امْرَأَةً بَغِيًّا رَأَتْ كَلْبًا فِي يَوْمٍ حَارٍّ يُطِيفُ بِبِئْرٍ قَدْ أَدْلَعَ لِسَانَهُ مِنَ الْعَطَشِ فَنَزَعَتْ لَهُ بِمُوقِهَا فَغُفِرَ لَهَا

A prostitute saw a dog moving around a well on a hot day and hanging out its tongue because of thirst. She drew water for it in her shoe and she was pardoned (for this act of hers).

Sahih Muslim (2245)

Besides, it is the responsibility of an owner of pets to provide the sustenance (nafaqah) and needs of the pets. If a person fails to fulfil the need of the pets, then he shall bear the sin of the action, like not providing foods, dwelling and cleanliness. This is based on a hadith narrated by Abdullah bin Umar RA where the Prophet PBUH said:

دَخَلَتِ امْرَأَةٌ النَّارَ فِي هِرَّةٍ رَبَطَتْهَا، فَلَمْ تُطْعِمْهَا، وَلَمْ تَدَعْهَا تَأْكُلُ مِنْ خِشَاشِ الأَرْضِ

"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 Muslim (2619)

Imam Badruddin al-‘Aini cited the opinion of Imam al-Nawawi stating:

وجوب نَفَقَة الْحَيَوَان على مَالِكه

“And it is wajib to provide sustenance (nafaqah) for pets under one’s care”

(See ‘Umdah al-Qari Syarh Sahih al-Bukhari, 15/198)

Coming back to the presented question, responsibility of the pets’ welfare is among things should be done by the owner, especially in maintaining the cleanliness that it may not cause disturbance towards other neighbours. In this matter, peace and harmony of the neighbours is something highly important and should be taken into consideration by each Muslim. The Prophet PBUH gave warning to his ummah that no one will reside the paradise if he causes disturbance to his neighbours.

This is clear as stated in a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA where the Prophet PBUH said:

لاَ يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مَنْ لاَ يَأْمَنُ جَارُهُ بَوَائِقَهُ ‏

He will not enter Paradise whose neighbour is not secure from his wrongful conduct.

Sahih Muslim (46)

The Prophet PBUH advised his companions to do good towards the neighbours because it is a habit and conduct of a true Muslim to always do good towards the neighbours. This is as mentioned by the Prophet PBUH in a hadith narrated by Abu Hurairah RA:

وَأَحَسِنْ جِوَارَ مَنْ جَاوَرَكَ تَكُنْ مُسْلِمًا

Be a good neighbor to your neighbors, and you will be a (true) Muslim.

Sunan Ibn Majah (4357)

Conclusion

As a conclusion, based on the above presented question and the nas, originally, it is Sunnah to feed the stray cats as long as it doesn’t cause disturbance to the public.

Hence, priority should be given based on the situation. If feeding stray cats may disturb and upset the neighbours due to the poop and unwelcome odour, then the action is not encouraged in order to ensure peace and harmony among neighbours.

It is best to consider the best way of balancing between these two good things, which are maintaining the relationship between neighbours as well as feeding the stray cats.

Wallahu a’lam.