Cats, Featured Posts

Caring for Cats

For as long as I can remember, cats (or as we call them, cattos) have always been part of our family. We have had more than twenty cats over the years. Me and my family, with the exception of my mom, all looove cats. Right now, I have three cats–one big Persian one, Muffin, and two siblings – one big and one small – Chocolate and Pirate..

Our Prophet (s.a.w.) also liked cats. His Sahabi, Abu Huraira (RA) loved cats as well. The cats of Madinah knew this very well! He used to have kittens climbing on his clothes & sleeves. What lucky kittens! Some narrations say that he had a kitten that would come everywhere with him. That’s why the Prophet (s.a.w.) himself gave him the nickname “Abu Hurairah” which means “father of a kitten”. Rasulullah (sa.w.) has said that if a cat eats from a plate, the food is not unclean and can be eaten/cooked by Muslims because cats are clean animals in Islam, unlike dogs. (ref)

I’d like to share some tips on keeping cats:

Getting a cat:

I wouldn’t recommend buying a cat, because this matter is disputed in Islam. All of our cats were adopted, usually rescued abandoned kittens that we kept and they grew up with us, or adopted ones that someone else gave them to us. My dad often brought them home from his daily Fajr walks. Cats just come along and started walking with him! His Qari Sahab used to call him “Abu Huraira” because he likes cats so much!

Me and Pirate

Keep an eye out for people giving away kittens – often when someone’s cat has a litter, they give away the kittens when they are old enough. Be careful about rowdy or scaredy cats that can scratch you. (See more about scratches below). It’s always a better idea to take in kittens instead of cats. Adult stray cats are usually dirty, and don’t take care of their own cleanliness like good cats do. But when kittens grow up in a good enviroment, they are well-mannered and well-kept even if they were strays. It will also earn you sawab insha Allah, because taking care of any living thing is a good deed! Remember this hadith: “Show kindness to the creatures on the earth so that the One above the skies [Allah] may be kind to you.” Hadith – Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi

But if your case is similar to mine, in which there is a cat who has had kittens, then it’s a good idea to keep it (when the kittens are small). Cats leave their kittens when they get a bit older, so then you can guarantee that only the kittens will be left. A cat in our neighbourhood left her kittens here just once, and we fed them like crazy because we didn’t have any cats at that time. Now she keeps coming…..and the cats are constantly increasing…..

Never, ever pull a cat’s tail, ear, hair or legs. Never squeeze it on any part of its body. This is meanness, and kittens can even die from being handled roughly.


Feeding cats/kittens good food makes them attached to you & their new home. Your first thought might be to give a kitten milk, but we have made this mistake enough times to tell you that this is a very bad idea. The kitten could be lactose intolerant because it is used to drinking its mother’s milk, not buffalo/cow milk. And definitely not Olper’s or MilkPak’s milk, which comes from Allah knows where! The kitten will get diarrhea and vomiting, and it becomes a mess to clean up. Instead, slowly introduce it to pure cow/buffalo milk by giving it a tiny bit every few days and then very slowly increasing the amount. If a kitten is a bit big though then it’s not a problem.

Food time at my cat farm

There are many foods cats love to eat. Buying inexpensive cat food is a good idea, because usually moms start complaining that milk is disappearing from the fridge and botis are disappearing from the salan (unless your mom likes cats. Then it’s not a problem, but unfortunately we and many others are deprived from this luxury). Never, ever give a cat only packaged cat food. It will become addicted and not eat anything else! It is best to give cats different types of food.  Some of them are: meat, chicken liver/fat, cooked or raw eggs. Some of our cats eat rice, kabab, paratha, bread and even daal and even biryani! Just don’t give them anything too spicy or sweet. Never give cats chocolate/candies. It can be fatal.

If, however, a cat eats some chocolate-flavored items DO NOT PANIC. It is not necessarily fatal–our cats have eaten bits of chocolate topping, chocolate cake and chocolate ice cream milkshake and Alhamdulillah nothing happened. But that does NOT mean you should feed them those things regularly/deliberately–I only told you this so you don’t get horribly worried if your cat eats a chocolate-flavored thing. Better safe than sorry.

Remember, the kitten/cat will usually settle or start hanging around wherever you give them food, so give them food in a place where your parents allow you to. Cats sitting in front of the drawing room door is often a bit unwelcome by guests and inconvenient too!


If a cat scratches you, it doesn’t mean that they hate you at all. They often do it by accident while playing or when they are scared and you are irritating them. Contrary to what many people will tell you, it is nothing to be terribly worried about; definitely nothing to be shown to a doctor! Just wash it with clean water (Dettol too, if you want and necessarily if the cut is deep.) and put a plaster on it. And let me tell you something. As dedicated cat owners we have gotten scratched abundantly over the years and Alhamdulillah, we are alive and well! Sometimes I don’t even bandage small scratches. They get fine on their own.

Once Chloe scratched me when I was playing with her. It was bleeding (not gushing, bleeding a bit) and then we had to leave for a friends’ house. I washed it quickly from the garden tap – which, mind you, might have not had extremely clean, distilled, germ-free water – then kept a tissue pressed against it during the 15-minute drive. And then it was fine…so, see, nothing to worry about!

Cats might bite you playfully. (Bites are never intentionally aggressive, scratches can be.) They should not leave any mark, but if they do they are something to be more careful about. Wash it with Dettol and put on a plaster.

How cats show their love:

Cats show their love in different ways. Some signs of love are:

  • Rubbing against your legs with their tail up.
  • Purring when you pet them.
  • Trying to get into your lap all the time.
  • “Making biscuits” on you (which means moving their paws in a circle, as if they are kneading dough). This is how kittens show love for their mom. It might hurt a bit if their claws are out, but don’t scold/hit them because they are showing their love! Put a pillow or thick cloth under their paws instead.
  • Gently biting your hand when you pet them. If you scold the cat when it is biting you lovingly, he/she might start licking your hand! Some of our cats do that. (No, I don’t mean that you stuff your hand in your cat’s mouth, make it bite you and then yell at it.)

How to pick up a cat:

You might need to pick up a cat to take it from one place to another or just for a cuddle. Never pick up a cat by its stomach. It can get hurt. Always pick up a cat from just behind their front legs. If your hands are in the correct position you should be able to feel its heart beating, and don’t squeeze hard! Don’t pick up a cat too much unnecessarily either, it’ll get annoyed. Some cats, like Pirate, love being picked up and petted (Pirate miaows incessantly until I pat him) so in that case it’s OK. Other cats like Chocolate get all tensed when you pick them up and prefer being on their own four paws. Here is a demonstration I did with Chloe, one of our old cats…

How to pick up a cat!

Playing with cats:

Muffin playing with a rope

Cats enjoy playing with balls, yarn, string and things that roll. Move the string around or dangle it in the air and the cat will catch it. If there are siblings, they will probably playfight. It’s usually hilarious to watch! But some cats are naturally playful while others aren’t. When cats are hyper they usually pounce on anything that moves, so be careful with tassels on clothing. Do not give cats something tiny to play with. If they are not watched they could swallow it.

Protecting cats from dangers:

Don’t let stray cats, especially billas (tom-cats) bother your kitten/cat. Shoo them away as loudly and fiercely as you can. A serious billa can even kill a kitten in a fight. It is important that the bad billas know they are not welcome in your house. Some cats are very nervous by nature; to shoo them away you can simply stamp your foot or run towards it. If there is a stubborn bad cat who isn’t getting scared, you might have to take drastic measures especially if the cat is irritating/injuring your cat. Throw shoes around it if needed. The purpose isn’t to injure or kill the other cat, of course, it’s for the protection of the kitten. One of the best harmless methods is to spray water. Keep the spray bottle near the door for emergencies in a catfight (if your kitten is outdoors).

If a cat gets sick:

Google may tell you to race to the vet the second your cat sniffles or sneezes. But there are many small problems that can easily be treated at home for cats. Of course, if the situation is clearly dangerous, don’t hesitate to go to a vet, as it’s your responsibility and the right of the kitten you have in your care. Also it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Here are some remedies we’ve tried & tested over the years:

For diarrhea & vomiting: Don’t give any solid food for several hours and give 1 tsp water each half-hour. (Force with a needle-less syringe or dropper if they don’t drink). This will clean their body.

For constipation: Give lots of water. Mix olive oil in their food. Switch to wet cat food (Like whiskas jelly) and add espaghol in it. Don’t give dry foods (e.g. biscuit cat food).

For limping: If the cat doesn’t let you touch the leg or cries in pain when you do, and the leg hangs at an odd angle, it is broken. Take the cat to the vet so he can put a cast on it. If the cat lets you touch/stroke the leg and move the leg, but just gently pulls it away, it’s likely a sprain. Tie a bandage around it for warmth and try to lessen jumping/running for a while. It’ll get fine itself. Try massaging it very gently.

For fever: If a cat is very dull, not eating and has hot ears, it has a fever. Give it plain chicken soup and let it rest.

For ear infections: If a cat’s ears have black lumps and it smells terrible, it has an ear infection. Clean up the black stuff best as you can with some wet cotton and put 3 drops of Ostosporin in its ear 3 times a day for about 4 or 5 days. This is a human medicine, but a vet told us to use it. It’s a quick remedy for a common problem. Or, if you don’t think you can do a good job cleaning their ears it’s a good idea to take it to a vet, or somebody who knows how to.

Poisoning: If a cat is staggering, suddenly vomiting, not eating, has blueish/discolored gums and is hiding away, it might be poisoned. Many things e.g. rat poison, paints, some plants can cause poisoning. Get the cat to a vet immediately.

Sometimes, though, a cat may throw up because it ate something bad or if it ate too much. If the cat is completely normal after vomiting then don’t worry.

Always be very careful how you carry a cat. If you turn it upside down, shake it, apply too much pressure to its stomach or hit it there it may throw up, especially if it has a delicate stomach.

Cat sounds:

Miaowing:This sound is specially reserved for humans. Cats never miaow at each other! It has different meanings. Usually either when the cat is hungry, in pain or wanting something.

Purring: This is a vibration in their throat. Cats purr when they are happy, but sometimes when they are in distress. If they are restless they are probably purring in distress but if they are relaxed, sleepy, playful or if you’re patting them, they’re happy.

Hissing: Cats hiss when they are angry, but it’s not usually too aggressive. Two of our cats who are very good friends now, and snuggle with each other all the time, sometimes hiss at each other. It’s usually just to show domination, like saying, “Keep your distance!”

Growling: Cats growl when they are really mad, like when they see an intruder in their territory. This is more aggressive than hissing. If your cat growls, it might be about to start a fight.

Yowling and screaming: This simply sounds like a cat scream. If you hear this, run out and shoo the intruder cat way immediately. Yowling means your cat’s gotten into a fight!

Cat colors:

Here are some common cat colors.

Tabby (Stripey.) Tabbies are different colors, like grey tabby or orange tabby.

Muffin (middle left) is an orange tabby with white.

Tortoiseshell i.e. black and brown (top left) Usually have black and white whiskers and pink and black lips or gums!

Tricolor, Calico or 3+ different colors (top right).

Tuxedo–black and white (middle right)

Calico tabby: Calico with stripes. ]

Fun fact: tortoiseshells and calicos are almost always female!

Bathing a cat:

Cats hate water.  But if your cat gets really dirty it’s a good idea to give it a bath. Don’t bath a cat in winter because it can catch a cold. Use a large tub, not too much water and mild shampoo (very small amount). Baby shampoo is mild so it’s a good option. Look for very gentle shampoos. To bath the cat you will need at least 2-3 people: one or two to hold the cat, one to pour water and one to scrub. Be careful, as the cat will probably get very angry and start clawing. Afterwards, let it dry in the sun and give it its favorite food to make it less cross with you. Chicken liver or jelly cat food is usually a good idea.

I hope all new cat owners found this article helpful. ^.^ If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at I’ll be always happy to help!

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