Cats in Judaism

Cats in Judaism

Judaism and the following of, make it clear that animals (with the inclusion of cats of course) have rights. It is also noted that the treatment of animals is well witnessed: “A person who is cruel to a defenseless animal will undoubtedly be cruel to defenseless people”. Another mention, written in the Bible is: “Those who care for animals are heroes, while those who hunt animals are villains”.

Cats and Shabbat

Although, the general sentiment towards cats is indifferent. Leaving that choice of endearment, and perhaps embracement, wide open. However, and regardless of one’s sentiment, one must always express care, kindness and concern.  In fact, Jews are permitted to violate Shabbat to a limited extent to rescue an animal in pain or at risk of death.

Historical Judaism

There are few direct references related to cats in historical Judaism. However, the few references that are mentioned are well regarded. One interesting consideration of cats is mentioned in the Talmud. Our Sages of Blessed Memory; use cats as an example of modesty, for the way they cover their droppings. Another and most interesting mention is: “I’lmale lo nitna Torah, hayinu lemedin tzni’ut mechatul”. Which translated, means: “If the Torah wasn’t given, we would have learned modesty from the cat”.

No doubt, there must be other opinions on the subject of cats within Judaism. Depending on sect or orthodoxy, the acceptance of cat domestication may vary. But the underlying current seems to acknowledge the rights of a cat (for a lack of better term). The degree of acceptance may vary, but certainly, leaves open the choice and degree of bonding with our feline friends.  -B’shalom

Check out more on cats through the ages.


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