Islamic marriage advice and family advice

Feed the neighbor’s cat or not?

Asalamu alaykum. I have a cat named Simsim. Our neighbors have two cats, Patches and Georgie. The neighbor's cats keep coming to my house for food. Cat food is expensive, and I have a limited income. I hate to turn them away, but they are not my responsibility, are they?

Some background:

The neighbors have money. The husband is retired with a good income. But they are careless people. Their yard is a mess of dead grass and weeds, and they have five run-down cars that they park anywhere. Their cats, Patches and Georgie, are outdoors only, not allowed inside. In winter I feel sorry for them, so I make little houses out of ice chests and leave them on the back patio for them to sleep in.

I guess the neighbors do feed Patches and Georgie, but not regularly, I think. Just whenever they remember. And probably cheap food with little nutritional value. (I buy good quality food).

So Patches and Georgie often show up at my back door, crying for food. I feed them in the morning because I pity them, but sometimes they come back in the evening too. Enough is enough! I can't afford this.

The other thing is that my cat Simsim is a female and is fixed, while Patches and Georgie are males and not neutered, and they often bother my cat and fight with her. Once Patches bit my cat deeply and she almost died. I don't want them hanging around the house, but I feel bad for them.

I know as a Muslim there is barakah in showing kindness to animals. I remember the hadith of the woman who earned Jannah by fetching water for a thirsty dog. But I can't afford to feed three cats. What is my obligation?

- Nisreen (Poor and Frustrated)

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2 Responses »

  1. Sister, bless you for your compassion.
    If you're concerned for the wellbeing of the male cats, speak to the neighbour.
    If that's a problem, contact your local animal welfare organisation. They might be able to help. Though, be warned - the neighbours might know who called them.
    If all else fails, just feed your cat and leave small amounts for the males. Don't waste your savings on them. Can't help everything/everyone.
    Also, you're probably aware that cats are cunning creatures and will play up just to be fed.

  2. Asalamualaykum,

    Brother Ali's advice is good. You are aware that your neighbors are acting in a completely unislamic way. We are obligated to respect our neighbors and help each other, and just the fact that their grass is unkempt and their cats are over at your place says it all.

    Their cats are not your responsibility, but you should know that your efforts will not go unnoticed and unrewarded by Allah. So do what is within your heart and your budget. If you budget regularly, then include in your budget what you can afford for the neighbors' cats....what you are willing to put towards them...and stick to that. This way, you will not feel any guilt.

    May you be blessed for your kindness, ameen.


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