Is it wrong to have pets?


I just wanted to know your opinions on having pets at home. Does one get, for instance, "bad karma" for keeping a bird in a cage as a pet, even if it is allowed to often fly around the house?

Also, we recently got kitten but a relative has advised us that keeping a cat may be against certain Hindu beliefs. Being vegetarian, we are indeed animal enthusiasts (but not overly so); however, is it sinful to keep animals (especially cats) as domestic pets?

Thank you for the clarification.

—Nirmal, UK


Dear Nirmal,

This is a very thoughtful question. I have not heard or read that having a pet in the home creates bad karma. It seems to me that you have love and respect for your animal friends. If these dear souls bring you joy and you give them joy, I don’t see why this is wrong.

We do need to look at the old beliefs with the thought: does this make sense; does it still apply today? Through the ages or yuga cycles, beliefs may have become distorted or changed. So it’s good to test these beliefs or, as you’ve done, ask about them.

Joy to you, Seva