Wednesday, October 29, 2014

National Cat Day

Darlene & The Amazing Aimee
Today is National Cat Day. I've been thinking about it. National Cat Day. A day devoted to felines wherever they may be. Every one of them is a loving, sweet, often misunderstood living, breathing, sentient being.

If you have a cat or two or more, you know what wonderful companions they are, how loving and sweet. They have been plagued by Old Wives' Tales that are totally inaccurate but so widely adopted without thinking that it boggles the mind. 

Photo Courtesy of Louise Holton

Cats aren't independent. They are independent hunters, not independent creatures.  They crave attention which is why they're on top of your newspaper or book when you're reading, your keyboard at the computer, why they sit close or on top of you purring. They love to play with you and some will play fetch with the enthusiasm of a Retriever. But they are not dogs. They like to make the first approach. If a cat comes to you of his own volition, you are honored.

A black cat is decidedly not bad luck! In fact, in many places, including the U.K., they are considered good luck! They are merely black in color and sweet in nature. However, the idiocy attached to them leaves them vulnerable to people who will use them in unsavory practices, hence they are not adopted out around Halloween. Sadly, because of their color, many people won't adopt them at all! They are missing out on a wonderful companion and because of their bigotry, these beautiful, sweet cats are often killed in shelters. I don't pussyfoot around - any pun intended - by using the word euthanasia.  They are dead by someone's hand in a shelter.

Photo Courtesy of Sue Janson
Cats do not steal a baby's breath. In fact, children who grow up with pets are less likely to be allergic to them. The only thing I wouldn't allow is for the cat to sleep on an infant's chest just because of the weight, however, many cats will happily sleep at the foot of the crib or on the floor near the crib. The family baby is their baby, too. Children who are raised with pets and taught to be gentle with them grow up to be more responsible, caring people.

The cats that run loose outside have often been thrown out by people who think they're disposable. They are not. They are in danger from being hit or killed by cars, attacked by other animals, or they starve to death. 

Feral cats, those who have not been owned or socialized, deserve love, too, in the form of shelter, food water, and a Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) program that allows them to live out their lives in relative peace and not reproduce more. If you see more in a colony it is usually because some irresponsible "owner" has thrown the cat away and chosen to dump their pet into a feral colony for which he is completely unprepared to live or even survive.

Photo Courtesy of Louise Holton

Cats often do therapy work in hospitals and nursing homes. That's not just a job for dogs!  Some are known to live with autistic children, providing them that "something extra" that they seem to need.

If you're a cat owner, celebrate your cat not just today but every day. If you can, please donate to your local grassroots rescue group. They will be happy to have whatever you can give, whether it's money, food, or even paper towels.

Cats give us unconditional love, the very least we can do is keep them safe from harm, feed them, give them fresh water each day, play with them, love them and cherish them.

Photo Courtesy of Claire Clayton

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