National Cat Day

Next Tuesday, 29 October 2024

National Cat Day is observed on October 29. The day aims to raise awareness about cat overpopulation, the benefits of adopting cats, and the importance of spaying and neutering cats. Shelters take in around 3 million stray or abandoned cats each year, many of them because people do not spay their cats, and it is not sustainable.
The day is a different celebration to International Cat Day, also known as World Cat Day, which is celebrated every year on the 8th of August.

Today, people searching for a feline companion are encouraged to look to adopt from their local shelter, instead of buying from a breeder. It's also a day to remind ourselves just what amazing, exciting pets they make. And whether you own a cat or not, it's a great day to search for videos or images of cats doing funny or cute things on the internet.


Background of Cat Day and the History of Cats

Like many other pet days, National Cat Day was founded by pet expert and writer Colleen Page in 2005. Colleen's goal was to make the public aware of the number of cats that need rescuing and rehoming in the country, as well as to remind cat owners of the companionship and love that their cats provide.

Cats lived as wild animals for thousands of years before they became domesticated. Domestication happened gradually, and it is believed that the first people to try to domesticate cats lived in the Middle East.

Cats were considered sacred by ancient Egyptians, who worshiped statues and pictures of cats. A few thousand years later the emperor of China was gifted a cat as a pet, and cats became an exclusive pet for the rich.

They arrived in Europe by way of Egypt traders, who gave cats to the Romans to help control pests. Eventually, sailors began carrying cats on their ships, to protect their food and kill rats. As these cats began procreating, they spread around the world and became a pet of choice for everyone, rich or poor.

Many people choose cats as pets because they are relatively easy to care for. They clean themselves, don't need walks, and can spend time alone at home. However, there are still many things to consider when adopting a cat, and the decision shouldn't be made lightly.

For example, kittens can be lively and are a lot of work, so perhaps an older cat is a better option. If there are other pets in the house, the cat needs to be friendly. And a house needs to be cat friendly before the cat is brought home. 

5 Fascinating Cat Facts

  •  Did you know that 37% of American households own a cat, 10% more than in the UK where 27% of households have a cat, but 10% less than in Indonesia where 47% of homes have a cat?!
  • 31% of household cats come from a shelter, and only 3% come from a professional breeder. 
  • In 2020 cat owners spent an average of $329 on cat food. Far less than the average dog owner spends ($442). 
  • Cats also cost less in medical expenses. The average household spends $182 on vet bills whereas dog owners pay more than double that with an average of $410 each year on vet bills.
  • 1.6 million cats are roomed from a shelter to a house each year. 

Famous Cats in Pop Culture

Cats are incredibly popular on social media and are often the subject of memes, cartoons, and videos online. Here is a list of some of the most popular cats:

1. Puss in Boots

This is a famous folk story of a cat with a poor owner. The cat tricks the King into thinking his owner is a wealthy man (in some versions of the story this is a Marquis and in others a King of another country), and the man eventually marries the King's daughter. The story is an old story, possibly originating from Italy, however, it is also a well-known film released in 2011. That characterization of Puss in Boots first appeared in the Shrek franchise; Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek The Third (2007), and Shrek Forever After (2010).  

2. Grumpy Cat

Grumpy Cat held by a person
Credit: Gage Skidmore (cropped)

Grumpy Cat is an image of a cat that became a popular meme, Grumpy Cat rose to prominence in 2012 after her owner posted an image online of her grumpy appearance, which was in part due to a diagnosis of dwarfism. The cat, Tardar Sauce began appearing on social media and in the news for her appearance, and soon became the subject of memes that mostly made cynical or grumpy messages. Grumpy Cat became so popular that he toured events including VidCon, and has over 2.6 million followers on Instagram. 

3. The Cheshire Cat

Image of the Cheshire Cat from Alice In Wonderland
The Cheshire Cat, illustrated by John Tenniel in 1865

The Cheshire Cat is a character from Lewis Carroll's book Alice In Wonderland. He is an unusual creature who disappears and reappears at various times in the book and is known for his exaggerated smile. 

4. Garfield

Garfield with a blue background

The nation's favorite lazy cat, Garfield, was first published in 1978 and illustrated by Jim Davis. Garfield was named after his illustrator's grandfather James Garfield Davis. Garfield is known across the world, in 2002 he was featured in 2570 different newspapers worldwide, represented by Universal Press Syndicate. One of the reasons Garfield has become so popular is that he is very easy to empathize with, being famous for his hatred of mornings, his sarcasm, and laziness, he is also incredibly lovable. 

5. Tom (Tom and Jerry)

Tom chasing Jerry on a gray background

A cartoon classic that is instantly recognizable around the world. Tom and Jerry first appeared on the screen in 1940 with a cartoon debut called 'Puss in Boots', written by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. There are now over 160 episodes featuring the duo and the franchise also includes video games and movies. The formula for the cartoon remains mostly unchanged, Tom chases Jerry, sets traps, and tries his hardest to catch Jerry, but poor Tom usually ends up in trouble as Jerry outwits him nearly every time.

Presidential Cats

Socks in the oval office
Socks, owned by Bill Clinton liked to hang out in The Oval Office

It is well known that Presidents keep pets, only three presidents have had none, and the most popular pets in The White House are dogs. After dogs, the second most popular pets are cats. In order, for the presidents to have cats are:

  • Abraham Lincoln - loved cats, and owned two while in The White House which he named Tabby and Dixie.
  • Rutherford B. Hayes - owned the very first Siamese cat in America, called Siam, which was imported specially from Thailand as a gift. 
  • Theodore Roosevelt - had two cats, one named Slippers and another named Tom Quartz. Slippers was well known for having extra toes on his feet. 
  • Calvin Coolidge - owned several cats before entering the White House, and also during his time as president, including Blacky, Tiger, and Smoky.
  • Gerald Ford - his daughter, Susan Ford, owned a cat called Shan, which was a Siamese cat. 
  • Jimmy Carter - his daughter also brought a male Siamese cat into The White House, called Misty Malarky Ying Yang
  • Bill Clinton - adopted a cat in 1991 called Socks. Socks lived in The White House from 1993 to 2001. 
  • George W. Bush - owned a black American Shorthair called India. India died in The White House aged 18 years.
  • Joe Biden - Willow is a young tabby cat that was adopted by Joe Biden in January 2022.

What to do on National Cat Day

1. Adopt a Feline

If you've been wanting a new companion for a while, this is the perfect day to adopt a cat in need of a home. Make sure you visit a few shelters so you can meet the ideal cat for you, or let the cat choose you! 

2. Give them some time

If your lifestyle doesn't allow for pets, but you love cats, consider volunteering at a shelter. They are often overwhelmed and in need of extra hands to play with the cats and help around with them. As an alternative, you can set up a recurring donation to a shelter, or go to drop off some food and toys for the cats.

3. Spoil your babies

Already have cats? Just show them extra love on this day. Give them their favorite food, buy them a new toy and give them their space. We all know how independent cats are. 

3 Cute Cats So You Don't Leave Here Without An Extra Dose of Cuteness

Cats are cute, there's no doubt about that. Just looking at an image of a cat can improve our mood or stress levels, so to put a smile on your face, here are some cute images of cats:

1. This tabby cat on a sofa

Cute Tabby cat on a sofa

A cat with big round eyes that almost make you feel as though you are staring straight into their soul!

2. A white kitten with a gray patch

Kitten in someones hands

They may look cute and innocent, but they are killer machines in training, maybe. 

3. A gray furry kitten

A gray kitten with blue eyes

Nothing captures the look of complete innocence quite as well as a cat.

Colleen Paige

Colleen Paige is an animal rights activist and environmentalist known for inventing several important awareness days. Her passion for animal advocacy and her commitment to creating a better world for animals and humans alike have been the driving forces behind her work. These efforts have made a significant impact on the welfare of animals, for example reducing pet homelessness and bringing awareness to the plight of countless animals. Not only passionate about animals, she also has created national holidays that encourage us to care for the environment.  

​​​​​Dates attributed to her include:

National Cat Day
National Cat Day

National Cat Day - Next years

Wednesday, 29 October 2025

Thursday, 29 October 2026

Friday, 29 October 2027

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