Pets & Halacha

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  • #593723

    Anybody have a dog or cat? Any specefic issues regarding Halachah and shabbos…I dont see any issues, I think a dog would be good for the kids…

    #1152773

    there are many issues, just a few quickly

    a pet is Muktzah on Shabbos.

    in some circumstances walking a pet with a leash can be carrying.

    you cant feed a pet with mixtures of meat and milk, you have to be very careful reading the labels.

    #1152774

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    Various issues that can come up:

    Milk/meat mixtures: Pet food does not have to be kosher, but it cannot have milk/meat cooked together.

    Pesach: You cannot feed your animals chometz on Pesach.

    Shabbos: Pets may be muktzeh on Shabbos. Consult your LOR. You may also have issues with trapping animals*.

    Spaying/neutering: This could also be a potential problem. Contact your LOR.

    The Wolf

    * Many years ago, some of our hamsters escaped on Shabbos and had the run of the apartment until Shabbos was over. It was actually quite fun watching one of them climb the steps in our apartment. 🙂

    #1152775

    charliehall
    Participant

    We have cats. Mod-80 mentioned some of the issues. Caring for animals is seen in the Jewish tradition as something that can inspire us to be more caring about our fellow humans. Cats and dogs, the most popular pets, have also provided direct human benefit: Cats because they control rodents (and indeed many small storeowners in NY continue to use them for this) and dogs for a wide variety of work.

    Here are some more halachic issues:

    While you can’t feed your pet a meat and milk mixture, you CAN feed it a poultry and milk mixture because the accepted halachah is that poultry is meat d’rabbanon.

    You must always be sure your pet has food before you eat.

    You can’t feed your pet chametz on pesach but you can feed it kitniyot even if you are Ashkenazic.

    If your pet, without your prompting, uses its claws to cut toilet paper on Shabat, you can use the cut toilet paper. (I actually asked this shilah and that was the response I got!)

    Cat litter is muktzah on Shabat; you can’t make blessings near the litter boxes.

    Pikuach nefesh does not apply to animals.

    Some communities have the minhag of not keeping non-kosher animals as pets; I’m not sure what is the source for this. This would eliminate cats and dogs, the two most popular pets.

    #1152776

    My Rav told me that my wife should try not to look at non-kosher animals when she’s pregnant. This precluded my ability to buy a dog or cat.

    So I got a kid.

    #1152777

    mw13
    Participant

    For the umpteenth time, all halacha li’maseh shailos should be asked to qualified Rov, not put to a vote by a board of anonymous bloggers who may or may not have any idea what they’re talking about.

    #1152778

    RuffRuff
    Member

    For the manyeth time as well, there is nothing wrong with discussing Torah. It is actually recommended. I wish there were only more such discussions on this site. There is a disclaimer on the Bais Medrash link, and there are numerous comments to the same effect. I think that should suffice.

    #1152779

    blueberrymuffin
    Participant

    RuffRuff – how does your owner treat you on Shabbos?:)

    #1152780

    mamashtakah
    Member

    I believe there are issues with walking a dog on a leash on Shabbat is there is no erev.

    #1152781

    from chabad.org

    Shabbat presents certain challenges for pet owners, but many, many pet owners are also Shabbat-observant Jews, and becoming familiar with a few basic rules and concepts is all that is needed.

    There are four primary areas affected by the Shabbat laws:

    1) Feeding

    2) “Trapping”

    3) Walking your pet

    4) Touching and petting

    Feeding

    Feeding pets on Shabbat is permitted.1 In fact we are required by the Torah to feed dependant animals every day before we eat ourselves. This is derived from the verse (Deuteronomy 11:15): “I will give grass in your fields for your animal, and you shall eat and be satisfied”–food for the animal is mentioned before food for oneself!2

    Trapping

    Trapping, defined as any act which restricts the freedom of an animal, is forbidden on Shabbat.3

    This prohibition is not relevant to many pets, because the prohibition against “trapping” only applies to animals which occasionally escape and are difficult to catch, not to domesticated animals which do not normally run away, since these are considered to be “trapped” already — due to their nature and/or training.4

    If your pet is prone to running away, the following rules apply: 1) It is forbidden to put a leash on the pet in a public area, or any place where it would take more than one lunge to catch it; leash the pet before you leave the house. 2) One may not close a window (through which the pet can feasibly escape) or door while the pet is in the home.5 This problem can be circumvented by securing your pet every time you open and close the door or by bodily blocking the doorway when you open the door so that there is never enough space for the pet to fit through.

    Walking a Pet

    Walking a pet on Shabbat is not problematic per se, as long as you avoid carrying the animal or any pet accessories in the “public domain” (See The Shabbat Laws).

    While the pet may be collared and leashed, it must be clear that you are walking an animal, not carrying a leash. The pet must therefore remain close to you at all times, and the length of the leash should remain taut; never sagging within a handbreadth of the ground, and no more than a handbreadth of extra leash should dangle from your hand.6

    Touching and Petting

    Any object which offers no immediate practical use is called muktzah, and may not be handled on Shabbat. According to conventional Jewish law, animals, too, fall into this category. While household pets may be an exception — as will be explained shortly — let us first discuss conventional halachah with regards to handling animals.

    It is forbidden to pet, hold, or stroke an animal on Shabbat.7 An exception to the no-handling rule is if the animal is in pain or discomfort; in such an instance it is permitted to touch it in order to ease its pain. For example, one is allowed to apply oil or an ointment8 to a wound,9 or help an animal which is having difficulty walking.10

    This exception only applies to the rules of muktzah. The laws of muktzah are of rabbinic origin, and were waived by the rabbis in an instance of animal pain or discomfort. However, in a case when the animal’s life may be in danger,11 it is permitted to ask a non-Jew to do any activity which is ordinarily forbidden on Shabbat.12

    All of the above, as we said, is the conventional law pertaining to handling animals on Shabbat. It has been argued by certain prominent halachic authorities13 that household pets are not included in the category of muktzah at all, because they have an “immediate practical use” — namely, providing people with pleasure and companionship. There are others who disagree, maintaining that the rabbinic prohibition against handling animals on Shabbat was imposed across the board. As there are differing opinions in this matter, speak to your rabbi, who will advise you regarding your particular situation.

    [Animal litter is also muktzah. But you may clean it up if it is in your home and disturbing you.14]

    Note: All these rules apply to major Jewish holidays too, with the exception of the rules regarding carrying in the Public Domain, which are not applicable on Jewish holidays.

    17 Comments

    FOOTNOTES

    1. It is forbidden to force-feed geese, calves, or other animals (for fattening purposes) on Shabbat (Shulchan Aruch Harav Orach Chaim 324:6).

    2. Talmud, Brachot 40a; Gittin 62a. On the other hand, it is forbidden to feed wild animals, or any animal whose upkeep is not your responsibility, on Shabbat (Shulchan Aruch Harav Orach Chaim 324:7). The exception to this rule is wild dogs (Talmud, Shabbat 155b).

    3. Mishnah, Shabbat 73a.

    4. Shulchan Aruch Harav Orach Chaim 316:25.

    5. Shulchan Aruch Harav Orach Chaim 316:7.

    6. Shulchan Aruch Harav Orach Chaim 305:19. Incidentally, though accessories such as leashes are not a problem, one may not take an animal into a public domain if the animal is bearing a load.

    7. Shulchan Aruch Harav Orach Chaim 308:78.

    8. This is provided that that the ointment is liquified. A cream may only be dabbed on to a wound, not smeared and spread.

    9. Interestingly, although many non-critical medicines and cures are forbidden on Shabbat for humans, for animals they are permitted.

    10. Two caveats to this rule: 1) One may not lift the animal entirely. For that reason a bird’s feet may not be moved because that will cause it to automatically lift off from the ground. 2) This is only permitted in a “Private Domain” (See The Shabbat Laws).

    11. Similarly, while a Jew may not deliver an animal’s baby on Shabbat, a non-Jew may do so on the Jew’s behalf.

    12. Shulchan Aruch Harav Orach Chaim 332.

    13. Including Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Responsa Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim vol. 5, responsa 22)

    14. Shulchah Aruch Harav Orach Chaim 308:72.

    #1152782

    the above article proves that you can be both Frum and have a pet. Before, speaking out against it, please speak to a ORTHO Rav and do some research

    #1152783

    RuffRuff
    Member

    Blueberrymuffin,

    Did the donkey of Rabbi Pinchos ben Ya’ir scratch itself on Shabbos? Is it Muktza to itself, too? On the one hand, I would say that not, but on the other hand, I don’t think the Chachamim made a special exception for donkeys. I must know the answer.

    #1152784

    mike: I spoke to an ORTHO Rav who did research. The answer was no.

    #1152785

    RuffRuff
    Member

    Mike,

    Are you sure about the stroking part? The Gemara says that Rabba slid his child on the sides of his donkey, for play. He explained that as long as he’s not sitting on it, the prohibition of using an animal on Shabbos doesn’t apply. Obviously it wasn’t a problem of Muktza, either. The only thing is that in that case, you are not actually moving any part of the animal, while by stroking you are picking up and moving its hair.

    #1152786

    RuffRuff
    Member

    TMB, no problem or no pet?

    #1152787

    No pet. But not necessarily a strictly assur min halacha; rather its not appropriate. (i.e. not everything permissible should be done.)

    #1152788

    it is not assur to have a pet

    doing so however is fraught with practical Halachic and Hashgufic problems

    i dont know anyone who has a pet or would consider having one, its not even a remote consideration.

    but for others, who are presently holding somewhere else, it certainly is not assur, but should not be entered into lightly.

    #1152789

    mike: I spoke to an ORTHO Rav who did research. The answer was no

    so did I, his answer was YES

    #1152790

    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    What are some of the hashkafic problems with having pets and which pets do they apply to?

    #1152791

    charliehall
    Participant

    mikehall12382,

    Thank you!

    #1152792

    a few that come to mind

    anthropomorphizing an animal, treating it like a person

    treating it like a member of the family

    being fooled and showering Love upon it

    making decisions such as how to utilize your precious time, taking the animal into consideration

    dealing with the Halachic pitfalls

    giving the animal your food, buying its food, spending money on it, sometimes a great amount for health issues, when perhaps it should go to a Jew instead.

    spending time caring for it

    #1152793

    i think i had some duplicates there

    just kind of thinking out loud

    #1152794

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    My Rav told me that my wife should try not to look at non-kosher animals when she’s pregnant. This precluded my ability to buy a dog or cat.

    So I got a kid.

    I believe this is a standard Lubavitch Shittah.

    it is not assur to have a pet

    doing so however is fraught with practical Halachic and Hashgufic problems

    i dont know anyone who has a pet or would consider having one, its not even a remote consideration.

    but for others, who are presently holding somewhere else, it certainly is not assur, but should not be entered into lightly.

    I know of two cases of dog owners. One where the owner is blind, the other where there is a disabled child & the child’s Rosh Yeshiva suggested it.

    In addition, many people own fish, where many of these halachas would apply as well.

    #1152795

    what about seeing eye dogs…

    #1152796

    yes there are definitely cases where it is a good idea to have a pet.

    it is not assur

    fish? no comparison to the problems caused by a cat or dog.

    #1152797

    bombmaniac
    Participant

    i was told that you can only pet an animal that depends on you and which you own on shabbos…i used to pet my friends dog but when i heard that i stopped doing it…but he can, its his dog

    #1152798

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    what about seeing eye dogs…

    My off-the-cuff guess would be that since seeing-eye dogs serve a functional purpose for Shabbos, they are not muktzah.

    As always, CYLOR.

    The Wolf

    #1152799

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Mr. 80:

    Agreed. But one should still know the applicable Halachos for Fish, such as feeding them first.

    #1152800
    #1152801

    RuffRuff
    Member

    Actually, a grandson of the Rosh writes in his Sefer that it is a Minhag Chasidim to have a pet so that one can be Mekayem the Mitzva of feeding your animals before yourself. I think CharlieHall alluded to this concept, earlier.

    One thing to keep in mind, is what the Gemara says, not to have a dog that scares people.

    #1152802

    ruffruff

    i would guess they were talking about goats and chickens and the like, animals that worked or were eaten i dont think anyone had “pets” living in their house in those days. maybe a cat to keep away mice.

    #1152803

    ItcheSrulik
    Member

    I wanted a dog growing up but my father is allergic to animal fur, so that’s that. Now why is it a hashkafic problem to take the animal into consideration when deciding how to use your time?

    BTW, I know a rov whose wife has 3 outside cats.

    #1152804

    Now why is it a hashkafic problem to take the animal into consideration when deciding how to use your time?

    Bittul Torah.

    #1152805

    you asked me a question

    i answered you

    if you want further elucidation, think about it

    #1152806

    LemonySnicket
    Participant

    On another note, why does it seem that a lot of Frum people (especially in the bp area) are terrified of cats and dogs? As a cat owner i always find it amusing when my neighbors cower in fear everytime they see my cat stare at them from the window. Also, seeing a full grown man running away from a little old woman walking a little old poodle is so sad.

    #1152807

    blueberrymuffin
    Participant

    I’m debating whether I should say what I want to say since it might make an Ayin Hora…ok – here goes:

    I’m really, really impressed with the way everyone here is stating their opinion so respectively, without attacking anyone because they don’t agree (as is the case in many other threads…). Let’s keep it up!

    why does it seem that a lot of Frum people (especially in the bp area) are terrified of cats and dogs?

    We once had this discussion and what we decided was that ppl are afraid of things they’re not used to. Since the majority of the frum population does not own a cat or dog (for the many reasons stated above) many frum yidden are afraid of these pets. Personally, I LOVE all animals (except for insects) and am usually not afraid of them!

    #1152808

    RuffRuff
    Member

    Mr. 80,

    In that case, they would have had the animal regardless. So he is obviously talking about getting an animal even for no technical usage, just for the purpose of feeding it. Once that is the case, he could be talking about a dog, cat, goat, raccoon or baboon.

    #1152809

    Sam2
    Participant

    Pet food on Pesach must definitely be free of Chametz. However, Basar Bechalav is not so clear. It is a Machlokes Acharonim between the Chasam Sofer (Assur) and the Noda Biyhuda (Muttar in the Dagul Mervava) as to whether Basar Neveilah Bechalav is Muttar Behana’ah. I personally do not understand how this argument exists since the Ramabam explicitly states (Peirush Hamishnayos Kereisos Perek 3) that it is Muttar. You should consult your rav as in some cases it me be permitted to have pet food with meat and milk in it.

    There is no real Heter for spaying/neutering a pet as the P’sak is brought down that the Issur of Sirus applies to non-Jews as well and giving a non-Jew a pet to spay/neuter would be Lifnei Iver.

    #1152810

    Sam2
    Participant

    Oh, and the Chochmas Adam endorses having a pet (he may say dog explicitly) because it teaches people how to treat others. He does make a claim that having two or more pets is Chukas Hagoyim though.

    #1152811

    BoroParkMom
    Participant

    Are you paying full tuition? If not, I suggest not purchasing a new mouth to feed

    #1152812

    mewho
    Participant

    get a wind up pet.

    no bathroom, no feedings

    #1152813

    charliehall
    Participant

    “There is no real Heter for spaying/neutering a pet “

    That is NOT the psak I got.

    #1152814

    Sam2
    Participant

    Then I would love to hear the rationale because there is no way to get around the Lifnei Iver part. The one brilliant plan I heard was to give it to a random non-Jew for a while or something without saying anything and hope they give it to a doctor to do it on their own. That way there is no Lifnei D’lifnei because the non-Jew is not responsible for Lifnei Iver.

    #1152815

    mewho
    Participant

    so, if you follow the eating out dairy post, u need not worry about anything with pets provided you have your children who are under bar-bat mitzva walk the dog , pet the dog, feed the dog etc.

    #1152816

    believer3
    Participant

    Besides all the halachic problems, pets are an expense. I know a family who us struggling with money, yet they wanted pets. They purchase lots of pet food and in turn, they have less food to eat! Now they get money from matan biseser. It’s very sad.

    #1152817

    a bag of dog food which will last you about a month is under $30. I strongly doubt this expence is the reason they are struggling so…

    #1152818

    joker
    Member

    I have 3 huge great danes and they cost me around $70 dollars a moth for feeding hardly a set back.

    Also I wanted to say shabbos is not as big as problem with pets as people say Rav Wosner paskened to my father that since the animal wants to be petted it is not a problem of muktza, and walking them is only a problem of carrying if thers no eiruv and the lead is not taut.

    #1152819

    walking is a problem of carrying when the leash IS taut

    #1152820

    joker
    Member

    sorry my bad. forgot which one it is, I live in an eiruv area.

    #1152821

    mamashtakah
    Member

    The one brilliant plan I heard was to give it to a random non-Jew for a while or something without saying anything and hope they give it to a doctor to do it on their own.

    There was a non-Jewish vet where we used to live who would “buy” the dog before the surgery, then “sell” it back afterwards.

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