Opinion

The halal cat food question

JAN 9 ― So, my cat is now on a halal cat food diet.

I went on a spree during the recent Christmas holidays, and bought myself an automatic pet feeder that can be programmed at certain times to feed my cat. I love him, but waking up at 3, 4 and 5am every morning for the past two years was driving me nuts.

I treated myself to a Christmas present, and the pet shop manager recommended that I buy my cat Muezza, Halal Cat Food.

“It’s actually good for cats who have hairball problems, and especially for cats who overgroom themselves,” she said.

I bought it because it was cheaper than the usual Royal Canin cat food I got him. Yes, my cat has a better diet than me, his owner.

When I posted the photo of the halal cat food, it sparked off quite a number of comments. When on earth did the halal equation come into play when it came to animals? Do animals need to eat halal food? We were bemused.

A friend remarked, perhaps it was manufactured with the handler (owner) in mind. Not wanting to feed his beloved feline food that may have been processed in non-halal factories, and sully his or her hands, there was a need to have halal pet food. So the owner could scoop with his hands and feed Furrykins.

A reader of mine said it was “...useless as pet food. My cats won’t touch it. Tak sedap.”

Pulak.

Cats are damn fussy.

“Bakpe mung dok baling je Friskies ke ikang kembong kat kucing awok tu? Bodoh mung ne, bazir pitih je beli biskut mahal,” a friend said.

“My cat does not eat Friskies,” I sniffed.

The makers of Muezza Halal Cat Food stated on their website:

“Non-Muslim visitors may at this stage need a short explanation, as to why the availability of a halal cat food is important to a growing number of Muslims.

“Firstly, there is of course no obligation in Islam for a cat to eat halal food. The obligation is on Muslims themselves not to handle haram foodstuff or feed it to either other humans or indeed animals. Muslims would also not willingly want to store haram food in their house.

“Secondly, the growing importance of Islam amongst UK citizens and others around the world means that many people are attempting to adhere more strictly to their faith. Many are therefore horrified to discover that other cat foods on the market contain haram meat & meat derivatives.

“Those that have attempted to comply with their faith’s requirement by buying fish based products are doubly concerned on discovering, that even in this supposedly harmless product the coating used on the food itself contains haram meat and even pork.”

I learn something new every day.

The halal industry has become one of the biggest markets to tap. Germany, a bastion of secularism, has woken up to the growing halal business. South-East Asia is a main driver, and our neighbour, Singapore, is catching up. Very fast, and they’re good at it too.

So why not have our furry children be part of a growing market? After all, it is claimed that Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. (This is, of course debatable, as everyone proclaims that their religion is the fastest).

In Malaysia, where the drive to be the best Muslim has surpassed everything else, Islam has become a product. When I wrote “I Am Muslim” almost a decade ago, it was nothing like what it is now.

Sadly, some profiteers have seen it fit to capture the religion literally in a perfume bottle, and even more unfortunate, there IS a ready market for such stupidity.

Voila ― the Minyak Wangi Berdoa. I don’t even know or want to translate the name of the perfume.

But I digress. Perhaps for crazy cat people who are Muslims, this is one way of ensuring that they are on the right and halal path. After all, we want the best for our pets. The cat was also a favourite animal of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

I’m just happy my feline dustbin likes the food. Though, if he did greet me with a salam instead of a meow, I’d have a heart attack.

Crazy cat people deprived of sleep may buy automatic pet feeders at Pet Lovers Centre. No, they did not sponsor this column. This is a PSA for many pet owners who need their sleep.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist

Comments