We keep a cat in the house as a family pet. Our question is in regards to nueturing/spaying and declawing of the pet. Is it permissible by Islam to have the claws on the front paws of the animal permanently removed for the purpose of protecting family and furniture from scratches? and is it permissible by Islam to have a surgical proceure done on the animal which will make the pet inable to produce offspring (even though it will stil be able to function sexually just not reproduce)? The vet told us that if we do not have our cat nuetered it is very likely he will begin marking his territory in our home by urinating on furniture and various places within the home.
There is nothing wrong – in sha Allaah – with de-clawing a cat, but that is subject to the condition that it should not hurt the animal. There are many medical means nowadays of doing that without causing pain. Causing pain to animals is haraam.
Preventing your cat from reproducing is preventing a natural process that Allaah has created in it. Undoubtedly the rulings on animals are not as serious as in the case of humans, but this does not mean violating the rights of the creation of Allaah.
If this operation will cause harm, or it will cause complications for the cat, then it is not permissible. The prohibition against causing harm is general and includes harm against both humans and animals. There follow some of the ahaadeeth that indicate this:
It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A woman entered Hell because of a cat which she tied up and did not feed, nor did she allow it to eat of the vermin of the earth.”
The vermin of the earth means mice, etc.
(Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 3140; Muslim, 2242. There is also a similar report from Abu Hurayrah).
It was narrated from Jaabir ibn ‘Abd-Allaah that a donkey whose face had been branded passed by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), and he said, “May Allaah curse the one who branded him.”
(Narrated by Muslim, 2217).
The scholars differed concerning the neutering of non-humans:
The Hanafis said that there is nothing wrong with neutering animals, because that benefits both the animals and humans.
The Maalikis said that it is permissible to neuter animals whose meat may be eaten, and it is not makrooh, because that makes the meat better.
The Shaafa’is made a distinction between animals whose meat is eaten and others. They said that it is permissible to neuter animals when they are small if they are animals whose meat is eaten, but it is haraam in other cases. They also stipulated the condition that this neutering should not cause the animal’s death.
As for the Hanbalis, it is permissible in their view to neuter sheep because that makes the meat better, but it was said that it is makrooh in the case of horses etc.
Imam Ahmad said: I do not like for a man to neuter anything, rather that is makrooh because of the prohibition on causing pain to animals.
See al-Majmoo’ 6/155; al-Adab al-Shar’iyyah, 3/144, 145; al-Fataawa al-Hindiyyah, 5/358)
There is also a comment on neutering cats: “If neutering cats will bring some benefit or ward off some harm, then there is nothing wrong with it, as it says in al-Kubra.”
(al-Fawaakih al-Dawaani, 2/346)
Hence we say that if there is some benefit in neutering the cat and if that will not cause its death, then it is permissible.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:
If there are too many cats and they are a nuisance, and if the operation will not harm them, then there is nothing wrong with it, because this is better than killing them after they have been created. But if the cats are ordinary cats and are not causing a nuisance, perhaps it is better to leave them alone to reproduce.
Fataawa Islamiyyah, 4/448
And Allaah knows best.