Monday is National Cat Day, in honor of our furry feline friends, and created to help spur the adoption of shelter cats around the country. National Cat Day, founded by Colleen Paige in 2005, is a means of creating awareness about the plight of homeless cats and the sheer number of cats that need to be rescued every year, as well as a reminder to cat owners to always cherish their little feline companions.
The holiday has helped Paige and the Animal Miracle Foundation save the lives of over one million cats in its seven-year existence. Every year, four million cats enter shelters, and of those, as many as half are put to sleep.
Cats can be harder to adopt out than dogs because of the many myths that surround cats. One of the most prevalent is probably the idea that cats are aloof and too independent. On the contrary, most cats are very affectionate, loving and playful. While many don’t play fetch, they do play with lasers and anything that dangles (just make sure they can’t swallow anything that dangles!). They will also bring “gifts” to you, and if they are indoor-only cats, they might bring gifts that are silly enough to provide amusement for you (such as your entire collection of hair ties, one at a time).
National Cat Day seeks to get 10,000 cats adopted nationwide and help steer people towards adopting shelter cats, rather than buying them from pet stores where they might have come from kitten mills. One of the ways you can celebrate National Cat Day is by visiting or finding ways to support your local shelter or rescue. Places like Fat Cat Rescue of North Chicago always need cat food and litter, and they have cats that are currently looking for their forever homes. Monetary donations always help too, and of course you can visit to see their adoptable cats and maybe give one its forever home.
National Cat Day is also a great day to spend with your own cats. Play their favorite game or find a new game to play, or give them a special treat with their dinner. Extend cuddle time with them. Engaging in all four of these activities wouldn’t be bad. In fact, it’s been shown that having cats can help to reduce stress, so if you’re feeling particularly stressed, giving your cat some extra love tomorrow will not only help to reinforce your bond, but might also help you relax more too.
It’s also a good time to consider getting your cat chipped if he’s not. Even indoor cats can get lost. Also, think about taking him in for a physical if it’s been a long time since his last one. Like people, cats need regular checkups as preventive care, and they can help to catch problems while they’re still in their earliest and most treatable phases.
In essence, National Cat Day is intended to raise awareness of the plight of shelter cats and work to get them adopted, and it’s also a day to celebrate being a cat person.