Is It Permissible to Neuter or Spay Stray Cats?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad

Question

My question relates to the legal ruling of desexing animals in the Shafi‘i madhhab.

A friend is feeding a colony of stray cats that are continually breeding and giving birth to very weak, malnourished kittens, many of which die soon after birth. I have encouraged her to get the female cats desexed, but she is unsure whether it is allowed in the Shafi‘i madhhab.

Because of an increase in disease and death among the animals, it has been brought to the attention of the local SPCA, who are also pressuring her to either desex the animals or have them put down. What should she do?

Answer

The Shafi‘i school has differences of opinion between animals that are eaten and those that are not eaten.

They said: It is permissible to neuter those whose meat is eaten when they are young, but it is prohibited in other cases. They stipulated that castration should not lead to the death of the animal.

The majority of scholars state that it is permissible to neuter animals whose meat is eaten, so long as it is done for a clear benefit and care is taken to avoid causing pain or death. See the link below as well.

It was narrated from ‘A’ishah and Abu Hurayrah that when the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, wanted to offer a sacrifice, he brought two large, fat, horned, black-and-white, castrated rams. He slaughtered one on behalf of his nation, for whoever testified to Allah with monotheism and that he had conveyed (the Message), and he slaughtered the other on behalf of Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and give him peace. [Ibn Majah]

Related Answer:
Neutering Animals: Permissible or Not?

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.