Categories: cat welfare

It’s National Cat Day in the US so what can I do about it?

National Cat Day was started to highlight cats at cat rescue shelters and to celebrate the domestic cat companion. Therefore, this day, which takes place on October 29 annually in the US, should be for people who do not live with a cat and those who do.

For people who are thinking about adopting a cat for the first time, National Cat Day asks if you would consider adopting from a cat or animal shelter. That should be the first port of call. Put aside the idea of adopting a fancy, purebred cat and go to your nearest shelter and see whether one of the cats there wants to adopt you as their human companion. You may be saving a life and you will certainly be making a cat very happy.

Cat ownership is about a mutually respectful relationship in which both benefit. Photo: Figo Pet Insurance.

If you have already adopted a cat and are a seasoned cat guardian, perhaps the best thing you can do today is to reflect on your relationship with your cat. It’s probably excellent but it might need improving in some instances. There are perhaps two overarching goals in our relationship with domestic cats. The first is to respect the cat as a different species of animal with their own characteristics. This avoids falling into the trap of regarding cats as little people which can lead to interacting with them in the wrong way. Secondly, there is value in reminding ourselves that we are in a relationship with domestic cats in the same way that we are in a relationship with our partner, if we have one.

It is a mutually beneficial relationship in which both parties contribute. We don’t own our partners. Nobody owns another person. We learn to understand the person we live with. We often do this before we live with them for obvious reasons. We learn by experience and by asking questions. We can’t ask our cat companions questions but we can learn to understand about cat behaviour, good feline diets and what makes them happy. It is then our duty to do the best we can to make them as happy as possible. Each cat is an individual with personal preferences. We need to learn about them to make her happy.

This inevitably means creating an environment which is as close as possible to a natural one for our cat companions. It won’t be entirely natural because it is a human environment but we can do things which allow our cat to express his natural desires to the maximum. We can awaken his mojo in the words of Jackson Galaxy, the renown American behaviourist. If your cat is demonstrating maximum mojo you’ve done a good job and it will have come from respecting your cat, being in a relationship with him and not owning him and finally understanding him.

Postscript: because domestic cats do not change how they relate to us compared to their interactions with other cats, they probably see us as cats albeit very large ones. The size is important because it can be intimidating. This may guide us in how we interact with our cat companion (get down low sometimes).

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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