A Purr-fect Day to Celebrate Cats


They have the good life.

For most of us who are passionate about cats, every day is National Cat Day. However, we can dedicate Oct. 29 as a celebration of all things feline.

National Cat Day was founded in 2005 by Colleen Page, a pet lifestyle expert and animal behaviorist. It calls attention to the number of cats that need to be rescued each year.

Despite the fact that cats outnumber dogs approximately 70 million to 55 million, they still experience second-class citizenship. They are less likely to be claimed from shelters. They are taken to the veterinarian less often. There’s little protection from municipalities because they’re not licensed; hence they’re considered disposable and the end result is a large population of feral cats.

Digging deeper, we see that there are abundant training opportunities for dogs and experts to assess and make recommendations regarding behavior problems. It often comes as a surprise to people that help is available for cats with behavior issues. Sadly, that doesn’t happen until the problem is ingrained and owners are at their wit’s end. Then they expect immediate results.

Even longtime feline friends can be at risk:

I’m having a baby and my doctor says I need to get rid of the cat.

I just had a baby and the cat keeps going into the nursery.

I got a puppy and my cat is hissing and growling.

My boyfriend just moved in with me and doesn’t like the cat sleeping on the bed. He wants me to get rid of it.

Think about it. When medical research is done on pets and new brands of food are introduced, dogs are first in line. Most recently Metacam, designated as a safe pain reliever for dogs, has been called into question for cats, leaving few viable alternatives for pain control after surgery.

The CATalyst Council (http://www.catalystcouncil.org/) is dedicated to dispelling many cat-related myths. It’s working with veterinarians, shelter and welfare organizations, and the public to ensure that cats receive the proper care and attention they need and deserve. The web site offers lots of cat-ecentric tips and resources.

The myth of cat ownership revolves around putting down a bowl of kibble and letting the cat out to do its business. Nothing could be farther from the truth. According to Dennis Turner in The Domestic Cat, a cat responds in kind to the amount of attention it receives; that means it can do all right with minimal interaction, but blossoms with an enriched environment. Any aficionado can confirm that when experiencing the response of her beloved feline when whispering sweet nothings into her ear or watching the acrobatics resulting from a favorite feather toy or listening to the murmurings when watching the birds at a specially installed feeder.

So give your feline an extra hug and some extra playtime on National Cat Day. You both will benefit.

And if there are any typos in this story, please excuse me. Tekla was lying on my arm while I was typing and Dusty was parked in front of the computer screen, purring for my attention and Tekla came back to lay on my arm… Well, you know what I mean.

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About ExclusivelyCats
Sally Bahner is an expert in all aspects of cat care: Writer, consultant, speaker, instructor.

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