National Cat Day is observed on October 29 in the United States. 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. On this day, people who are searching for a feline companion are encouraged to look to adopt from their local shelter, instead of buying from a breeder.
Like many other pet days in the United States, 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 are in need of rescue in the country, as well as reminding 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 worshipped 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 procreated, 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 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.
What to do on National Cat Day
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 perfect cat for you, or let the cat choose you!
If your lifestyle currently 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.
Already have cats? Just show them extra love on this day. Give them their favorite food, buy them a new toy and, obviously, give them their space. We all know how independent cats are.