Question: What are the purification rulings related to household cats?
Bismi Llahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuhu
As a basic summary, Hanafi scholars deduce that:
1. Cat hair is pure.
2. Cat saliva is pure.
3. Cat feces and urine are impure (najis), and they are considered major filth.
4. Cat blood is impure (najis), and it is considered major filth.
5. Cat vomit is impure (najis), and it is considered major filth.
Household Cats & Soiled Furniture
When dealing with rulings related to purification, the basis is purity. Thus, one always assumes purity in cases of doubt, unless one is certain that filth is present.
If one notices invisible traces of filth (e.g. urine) on one’s furniture or carpet, one purifies the area by washing it with water, drying it each time, until one believes the trace is removed. Three times is more than sufficient. Traces of filth are known by color, taste, or smell.
If one notices visible filth (e.g. feces, blood, or vomit) on one’s furniture or carpet, one removes the body of filth first, and then purifies the area by washing it with water until the filth is completely removed, even if it only takes one washing. Leftover stains that are hard to remove are excused, as long as the physical body of filth is removed. Using soap is not a requirement.
If either invisible or visible filth is found on a smooth surface (e.g. countertops or tiled floors) that are free from open pores, then one can simply wipe up the remnants with a tissue or cloth.
Alternatively, if one notices filth on removable household decor (e.g. pillow cases, prayer rugs or bedsheets), one can purify the item in the washing machine, though it is more precautionary to follow the aforementioned rulings before placing it in the washing machine.
Detailed Rulings Related to the Saliva of Household Cats
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said about tamed cats, “It is not impure, it is of those [creatures] that mingle with you.” [Abu Dawud, al-Tirmidhi]
Thus, due to the excessive interaction between humans and cats, the rulings related to the saliva of domesticated cats differ from other animals out of necessity.
All of the rulings below are relevant if one is unsure if the cat’s mouth is filthy. If one is certain that the cat’s mouth is filthy because it just ate filth, then the related ruling of filthiness applies. If a cat renews its saliva, the mouth is purified and it is no longer impure.
Cat saliva is pure in the Hanafi madhhab, but there are a few rulings one should know:
1. If a cat drinks from a container of water, the leftover water remaining in the container is pure.
However, it is slightly disliked (makruh tanzihi) to use it for purification if other water is available for use. If no other water is available, one must use the leftover water and cannot resort to dry ablution (tayammum).
2. If a cat licks one’s hand, it is slightly disliked (makruh tanzihi) to pray without washing one’s hand first.
3. If cat saliva gets on one’s garment, it is slightly disliked (makruh tanzihi) to pray with it.
4. If a cat eats solid food, it is slightly disliked to eat from the same place it put its mouth if one is financially capable of eating something else. If one is not financially able, then it is not disliked out of necessity.
Jazak Allah khayran
Naielah Ackbarali (Ustadha Umm Ihsan)
- Imam Shurunbulali, Maraqi al-Falah
- Imam Ala al-Din Abidin, al-Hadiyya al-Alaiyya
- Imam Shurunbulali, Imdad al-Fattah
- Imam Tahtawi, Hashiyya al-Tahtawi
- Imam ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar