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Do I need to feed my cat kosher pet food?

Do I need to feed my cat kosher pet food?

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In general, the laws of kosher are for (Jewish) humans, not for animals.

There are, however, two sorts of non-kosher food that we are not only forbidden to eat, but we are also forbidden to derive any benefit from:

1) Chametz on Passover. (Click here for more on this topic.)

2) A cooked mixture of dairy and meat.1

So pet food that does not contain both milk and meat is fine for year-round use.2 If, however, the product contains meat, then this product may only be used if it doesn't also contain milk (or a milk derivative, such as whey or casein).

I should point out, though, that the "meat" that we may not cook with milk, or may not benefit from if it was cooked with milk, is meat from a kosher animal.3 Therefore, if it can be determined that the meat in the pet food comes from a non-kosher animal (such as horse meat), then it is "kosher" for your pet.4

Rabbi Eliezer Danzinger for Chabad.org

Footnotes
1.

Code of Jewish Law, Yoreh De'ah 87:1; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 46:5. Cooking such a mixture is itself prohibited.

2.

Except on Passover, when we have to be certain that the product contains no chametz.

3.

Code of Jewish Law, ibid. par. 3.

4.

Some authorities permit feeding stray animals meat and milk mixtures, since you don't derive any apparent benefit. But other authorities forbid this as well, maintaining that by fulfilling your desire to feed a stray, you benefit too.

Rabbi Eliezer Danzinger, first content editor for KabbalaOnline.org, is the translator and editor of several important chassidic texts. He also serves as the Jewish chaplain for York Central Hospital, and for numerous Federal prisons. Rabbi Danzinger currently resides in Toronto, Canada, with his wife, Yehudis, and their children.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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Anonymous Montreal January 5, 2016

I cook all kosher meat and fish for my dogs. Therefore I have no worries! Reply

Lisa Providence, RI September 18, 2015

Kosher Cat Food The Evangers Company in Wheeling, IL has kosher cat food. If you don't live near a place that sells it, visit their website. Reply

Josh Pactor Seattle, WA July 9, 2014

Cleaning food dishes You could consider rinsing and cleaning the pet food dishes in a bathroom sink; if you're worried about the sink in the bathroom as well, you could even empty the rinse water into the toilet.

In general, though, cold food doesn't transfer. You might have to ask your rav if the rinsed water from the food dish would transfer, but it's a generally held opinion that using soap also prevents transfer, since it destroys the taste of the non-kosher meat.

In any case, you should wash and rinse the dish with cold, soapy water, then immediately clean the sink thoroughly, removing whatever residue you find.

If you're still worried about transfer after this: wait 24 hours after using the sink, then boil water in a clean, kosher pot and pour the boiling water over the entire surface of the sink. Since you only used cold water for the entire process, boiling water will work to kosher the surface.

Again, consult your rav, as he'll know what's best for your situation. Hope this helps! Reply

Rachel Korom Chicago February 22, 2014

what about food dishes? My main concern Is what is the proper way to clean the pet's food dishes. If one washes these on the sink then the sink will no longer be kosher. What do you do? Reply

Lsfein Minerva, Oh August 9, 2013

Healthy pet Foods There are a number of new pet foods on the market these days that are grain-free. These are available for both dogs and cats. Though not readily available in grocery stores, they can be purchased either at large pet chain stores like Pet Supplies Plus (one of the better chains), or online at places like chewy.com, etc.

These grain-free options are not only healthier for year-round consumption, but they, of course, chometz-free--and thus appropriate for Pesach use. Reply

Anonymous Chicago March 25, 2013

Evanger's Kosher Pet Food Evanger's Pet Food has an entire line of pet foods for your cats & dogs to eat on Passover! Reply

Avram Silver Spring, MD February 24, 2009

Not to animals, but to humans with animals! Anonymous: You are right that animals are not obligated in mitzvos of the Torah (obviously), however, this article is not irrelevant, since it deals with dietary laws for humans with animals. The Torah states that "chametz (leaven) shall not be seen in your dwellings", therefore, even if it's only your animal eating chametz, YOU are violating G-d's law. 2nd: Torah states three times "you shall not cook a kid in its mother's milk." The bishul (cooking) is forbidden, nothing is said about eating. We derive that eating, otherwise using, and benefitting from such a mixture is forbidden because of the repetitive commandment. Since you benefit by feeding your pet, if you feed them a milk/meat mixture, YOU violate a Torah law (not your pet). Reply

Anonymous July 21, 2008

The Dietary laws do NOT apply to animals! Neither the dietary restrictions G-d gave to Noah or Moses applies to animals. An example would be the prohibition against eating blood and flesh torn from live animals. This prohibition applies to both Jews and Gentiles. However, certain animal species (vampire bats) drink blood and some carnivores (certain snakes and bears, for example) eat their prey while it is still alive. These examples from nature show that neither the Noachide or Mosaic dietary restrictions apply to animals. They are only for humans to follow. As such, this whole article seems to be irrelevant. Reply

Snowy the Cat June 11, 2008

Don't Feed your Cats Cows milk! Actually, there is special milk for kittens at pet shop, but as a rule, you should not feed your cat cows milk...it is too strong for their stomachs. The cartoons featuring cats drinking milk is wrong! The cats like milk, since they drink milk from their mothers as kittens and this reminds them of that, but they are sensatiable when it comes to food, so will overlook the fact that you have just handed them cows milk and drink it all up. So, STOP giving your cat cows milk, you are just destroying their stomachs. Reply

Debbie Frances Brown Manchester, England June 11, 2008

Are you actually allowed to have a house pet? I always thought that the chassidic / charedi (and what is the difference) are not allowed pets in their house because there are too many hungry humans.
I'm thirstink for the answer on this one. Reply

Anonymous June 6, 2008

My kosher cat I noticed that if I give my cat some milk and cat food within the space of six hours that his stomach becomes quite torrentiously unhappy! Kasrut laws about times between meat and dairy could apply to a cat! Reply

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