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Fatwa Number : 3458

Subject : Ruling on Castrating Cats to Prevent Inevitable Mischief

Classified : Medicine & seeking treatment

Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa


Question :

I would like to ask about the procedure followed in sterilizing and castrating cats. Actually, it is harmless and takes no more than ten minutes. As this is the breeding season, cats become ferocious and splash urine all over the house, causing a lot of harm. Moreover, raising cats is expensive and I can`t afford raising more than one. If I leave them as they are, they will increase in great numbers. What is the ruling on this procedure?


The Answer :

In principle, castrating animals is absolutely forbidden, as it entails torturing and changing the form upon which they were created in the first place. It was narrated from Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) that “The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) forbade tying up animals as shooting targets and castrating them.” Muslim jurists have mentioned that it is absolutely forbidden to castrate inedible animals; whereas, doing this to edible small animals is permissible since it makes their meat tastier. An-Nawawi (May Allah bless his soul) said, " It isn`t permissible to castrate an inedible animal, be it young or old, but it is permissible to castrate edible small animals since doing so makes their meat tastier. However, this isn`t permissible with edible old animals."{Al-Majmou`, 6/177}.

Kindness to animals can be achieved in leaving them the way Allah the Almighty had created them. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) is our role model in kindness and mercifulness to animals. Ibn Mas'ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: We were with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) in a journey when he drew apart (to relieve nature). In his absence, we saw a red bird, which had two young ones with it. We caught them and the red mother bird came, beating the earth with its wings. In the meantime the Prophet (PBUH) returned and said, "Who has put this bird to distress on account of its young? Return them to her." He (PBUH) also noticed a mound of ants, which we had burnt up. He asked, "Who has set fire to this?" We replied: "We have done so." He (PBUH) said, "None can chastise with fire except the Rubb of the fire." [Abu Dawud].


However, if castration prevents inevitable mischief and harm, then it is permissible. Al-Imam Ibn Mazah, Hanafi scholar, said, "About castrating a cat: It is permissible do so for a benefit or for warding off its harm."{Al-Moheet al-Burhani, 5/376}. Imam Ibn Roushd said, "And Malik said: If the horse becomes wild, then I see no blame in castrating it."{Al-Bayan wat`Tahseel, 2/557}. And Allah the Almighty knows the best.




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