The Prophet and the Cat
The call to prayer sounded, and the Prophet Muhammad prepared to go to the mosque. But when he went to put on his robe, he found a small stray cat peacefully sleeping on the sleeve. Muhammad paused, not wanting to disturb the kitten’s slumber. So instead of moving the cat, he gently cut off that section of his sleeve and dressed for prayer without rousing the sleeping feline.
When Muhammad returned, the kitten awoke and affectionately nuzzled against the Prophet’s leg in thanks. Muhammad smiled and picked up the endearing cat, bringing her into his home. He gave her food and fresh water, and let her rest comfortably on his lap. From then on, she was known as Muezza, and became Muhammad’s beloved companion cat.
Observing Muhammad’s kindness to a stray cat surprised his followers. They asked why he would care for such a lowly creature when he had far more important concerns. Holding Muezza tenderly, Muhammad said “To show mercy, no matter how small, is a good deed. How can you be so unfeeling as to not care for the weak? This cat deserves compassion as much as any human.”
From then on, Muhammad made sure the stray cats around his mosque were fed and sheltered. He instructed his disciples to follow his example and treat animals with empathy. Newborn kittens were nurtured and found caring homes. Muhammad saw caring for cats as part of living morally.
This moment shaped Muhammad’s enduring legacy of compassion. He warned those who mistreated felines, “Acts of cruelty to animals are as harmful as those to humans.” Cats frequently rested and dwelled in his mosque without harassment. Muezza became a familiar, purring fixture in Muhammad’s lap as he taught each day.
In the Islamic tradition, cats have always held a cherished place. The Prophet valued their cleanliness and companionship. To this day, mosques are welcoming refuges for street cats across the Middle East. Muhammad demonstrated that caring for those in need, including animals, is a virtue — not for vanity but out of genuine empathy. Many Muslims of today make sure their feline companions join them for prayer time, and provide a prayer mat for them.