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Pets on Shabbos


  1. Assuming that pets are muktza on Shabbos, could one designate it before Shabbos similiar to a rock and one could play with them on Shabbos?
  2.  And if one can’t, could one pet a salamander without moving it on Shabbos? (My kids adopt interesting pets while in the bungalow for the summer). Perhaps if the pet doesn’t move as result of touching it, maybe one could touch it.


  1. The reason that pets are muktza is differant that the reason that rocks are muktza. Rocks are muktza machamas gufo, muktza because they have no use on shabbos, therefore chazal said that if the rock was indeed designated from before shabbos for a use, that it is not muktza.  Animals have an added reason because one may come to rip off a branch from a tree in order to steer the animal. This restriction is very widespread, to the extent that chazal even forbade using an animal on shabbos due to this fear. In addition chazal also said that all animals, birds and fish (even salamanders) are always muktza, even if this particular animal etc., will not have this concern (called lo plug). Therefore even though the animal was designated before shabbos this will not help.
  2. It would be permitted to touch the salamander, as muktza is only in regard to moving the muktza item. However as a side point, you might want to consider the chinuch aspect of this. If it is considered muktza, and shouldn’t be moved, it might not be good chinuch to have the children play with the salamander in a way that they are apt to end up moving it.


Beitza 36a, Shabbos 154b, O:CH 305-18, 339-1, M:B 305-62, Shmiras Shabbos Khilchoso 20 ftnt. 121 (new edition) (See Orchos Shabbos 19-124, regarding turtles, and Ketzos Hashulchan 147-9 regarding grasshoppers),

It is true that the Maharach Or Zarua permits it but the Rosh in the next siman, and the poskim hold that it is muktza. See Orchos Chayim 308-24, Daas Torah 308-39, Kaf Hachayim 308- 235, Toldos Shmuel 3- Mitzva 99 (2) Baalei Chayim, Be’er Moshe 2-28, Btzel Hachochma 5-33,34, Yabia Omer 5- O:CH 26(3), Shalmei Yehudah 13-11, Pachad Yitzchok (Behama 7-3), Shmiras Shabbos Khilchoso 20-ftnt 171, Titulei Shabbos pg. 118, Orchos Shabbos 19-124.

Regarding the opinion of R’ Moshe zt”l, see the teshuva there that the words regarding pets were added in by someone else, and it exactly h opposite of what is really written there. It is known that the teshuvos written there are the questions that R’ P. Bodner shlit”a asked R’ Moshe while he was preparing his sefer Titulei Shabbos. He asked R’ Moshe the questions, got the answers from him, and then brought it back for R’ Moshe to proofread. In Tiltulei Shabbos the teshuva is there without this addition, and the understanding of the teshuva is that they are muktza. Aside from this, this addition in any case it very hard to understand. The question was if parrots etc. that children play with are muktza or not. The answer is that they are muktza. Then the addition say what this is only if they aren’t pets… well that was exactly the question. Birds that someone has in his house that the children play with is called a pet, and that is what he said is muktza.

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