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After a kosher shekita, a non-kosher animal (cat) has eaten from the carcass. Is the carcass still kosher?

(The question describes not a real problem, I am just curious. In the reality, I've never heard about such an event. If it would happen, very probably the whole carcass would be thrown out without inspection.)

As I understood the kosher laws, they are mainly about the killing of the animal and the processing of its flesh to meat. As I know, a carcass is not kosher if it was injured by anything before the death. But what is if the injury happened after the shekita?

I have a feeling that it shouldn't be kosher after it had a such extraordinary contact with an animal.

  • 1
    Why. What would be the possible reason for changing the status of the dead and inspected animal? – sabbahillel Oct 4 '15 at 0:11
  • Actually, unless there is a government regulation concerning the cat eating from the carcass, the meat would simply be sold to the non-kosher market. In fact, the cuts of a kosher animal shekhted properly and deemed glatt kosher that are not kosher (basically the hind quarters) are always sold to the non-kosher market. – JJLL Oct 4 '15 at 1:19
  • @JJLL The only reason for selling the hindquarter to the nonkosher market is economic (cost of treibering to make it kosher) and the price that could be gotten for it. Kosher meat with a piece cut out should not have to be sold as nonkosher. – sabbahillel Oct 4 '15 at 21:50
  • Actually, there are discussions about the safety of eating from something after it has been eaten by different non-kosher animals. It wouldn't be about the kashrut, but about the requirement to safeguard ones health. – Yaacov Deane Oct 11 '15 at 17:50
  • Is there a reason you ask specifically about a non-kosher animal eating from the carcass? What if a chicken pecks at it? – Daniel Oct 12 '15 at 13:59
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Short answer: Yes, the carcass is still kosher.

Long answer:
In the laws of shechita it is mentioned that it's possible to make an animal treif even during the shechita process.

See Yoreh De'ah סימן כו - דין נקב בושט או בבני מעים קדם (גמר) השחיטה

א: נִקַּב הַוֵּשֶׁט בִּשְׁעַת שְׁחִיטָה כְּנֶגֶד הַמָּקוֹם שֶׁשָּׁחַט כְּבַר, טְרֵפָה

ב: שָׁחַט הַקָּנֶה וְנִקְּבָה הָרֵאָה קֹדֶם שֶׁשָּׁחַט הַוֵּשֶׁט, אוֹ שֶׁשָּׁחַט הַוֵּשֶׁט וְנִקְּבוּ בְּנֵי מֵעַיִם קֹדֶם שֶׁשָּׁחַט הַקָּנֶה, טְרֵפָה

But you asked But what is if the injury happened after the shekita?

Once the shechita is over, there's no way to make a kosher animal treife - i.e. make the shechita non-kosher.

However, in the next Siman סימן כז - שלא לחתך אבר מהבהמה בעודה מפרכסת you will see that one may not yet cut pieces off a slaughtered animal that is still moving - and if one does, one may not eat them until the animal is motionless - and really dead.

א: חָתַךְ מִבְּהֵמָה לְאַחַר שֶׁנִּשְׁחֲטָה כָּרָאוּי וְעוֹדֵּנָהּ מְפַרְכֶּסֶת, אָסוּר לֶאֱכֹל מִמֶּנָּהּ עַד שֶׁתָּמוּת הַבְּהֵמָה

However, cutting off pieces will not make the animal treif, since one can eat them after the animal dies.

So we see that the answer is - as you suspected - that the animal is not treif.


As to your specific example of a cat: The Talmud in Horios 13b mentions that eating where cats and mice have nibbled could be bad for your long-term memory.

This is brought down in Halacha - for example in Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 32

לֹא יֹאכַל מִמָּקוֹם שֶׁאָכַל עַכְבָּר אוֹ חָתוּל, דְּגַם כֵּן קָשֶׁה לְשִׁכְחָה

So one should probably cut away around the missing piece.

And then there's the health hazards; one may not do anything dangerous, and eating contaminated food would qualify. But I suspect that's not within the scope of your question.


BTW: Your statement a carcass is not kosher if it was injured by anything before the death is not 100% accurate. Only certain injuries make an animal non-Kosher.

Which? Those that our sages determined to be life-threatening, usually defined as the animal probably won't live another year with such an injury.

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