You don’t have to be a cat lover to celebrate Cat Herders’ day, you only have to be someone attempting to complete a seemingly impossible task or working in a job that is a continual up-hill battle, tall-order, hard-work, or in short, some activity that is like ‘herding cats.’ Have you ever seen a cowboy or cowgirl herding cats? Didn’t think so – that’s because if we ever attempted to it would take us longer than an infinite monkey to type the complete works of Shakespeare. 

You’ve probably heard the saying that something is as impossible as “herding cats”, used in reference to a seemingly futile or difficult task. Granted, if you have actually attempted to literally herd a bunch of cats for some reason or the other, you would know exactly how impossible this task actually is.

All of that said, as far as we know, there’s no one out there who’s actually a professional cat herder. If there were, this day would actually be for those folks. This is a day for everyone who has to face the frustration of trying to manage the unmanageable, anyone whose day to day life involves insurmountable tasks.

So who belongs to this lucky cat herding group who spend their lives on horseback searching the barren lands for cats to round up? Originally it referred to project managers of one kind or another, corporate staff, that sort of thing. But the concept has broadened to include anyone who feels they might be under appreciated. Care workers, house moms and dads, factory workers, taxi drivers, office staff with piles of folders, or call centre folk with targets to hit. If you’re a member of this unfortunate group it’s time to count yourself lucky, because December 15th, all day, every year, belongs entirely to you. 

History Of Cat Herders’ Day

While the idiom that something impossible is “like herding cats” is a popular saying now, the phrase has relatively recent origins – one story has it that IT expert Dave Platt popularized the phrase when he said that “managing senior programmers is like herding cats”. 

Another possibility is the popularity the phrase gained during the Super Bowl in the year 2000. Hewlett-Packard released an ad on that occasion boasting of their ability to serve customers, as easily as cowboys herding cats. Since then the phrase has taken on a life of its own but in general is applied to those able to go above and beyond the call of duty, able to handle the impossible without thought of reward – in short, life’s thankless tasks. 

What we can say is that the phrase is pretty suitable for what it describes. And while cats are independent, solitary, and easily distracted, many humans also share the same characteristics. 

So you may well have to complete tasks that are in fact as difficult as herding cats, even if you’ve never seen or heard of a cat until now. Anyway, we know that Cat Herders’ Day was invented sometime in the last decade, and is basically one of those cheeky holidays that you can celebrate however you want.

Observing Cat Herders’ Day

Get ten cats and a shepherd’s crook. Herd the cats using the shepherd’s crook, and you will have just made a futile attempt at herding felines. Congratulations, for you’re now a catherd/catherdess (like a shepherd, a cowherd, or a goatherd, only less often glorified in the Geetha Govinda or in baroque opera – we’ve yet to find pastoral scenes with catherds). Now that you’ve attempted and failed the impossible, head out and thank those who accomplish them every day.

From project managers to daycare workers, head out and let those who handle impossible tasks with aplomb every day know how much you appreciate and, frankly, stand in awe of them. Someone has to be there to get these tasks done, and without those who seem to be capable of herding felines of the metaphoric variety, the world may not work as well as it does. On final note, on Cat Herders’ Day, do try not to be a cat

How to Celebrate Cat Herders’ Day

So you’ve decided you’re a cat herder, or that you want to use the special day to appreciate someone who is. Simply telling you to head out and celebrate this relatively unknown holiday might be like herding cats in itself as you toil for ideas of what to do. 

So what can you do? 

The first thing to let people know. Pick your favorite cat video or internet meme featuring a cat and post it on social media with a cat herding hashtag. Use your post to demonstrate your intentions of highlighting the great work of the overworked and under-appreciated people of the world. 

Depending on who you’re celebrating you can get creative and come up with your own special traditions. One idea is to draw a picture of a cat and put it in your front window, almost always neighbors catch on and imitate. Very soon your street is competing for who had the best cat picture. Every year there will be a sense of anticipation as December 15th approaches. 

Cat Herders’ Day may not be the most well known holiday but it is an important one. Regardless of its origin, the idea of appreciating the work some people do and of how hard that work can be under some extremely difficult circumstances cannot be overlooked. Having a day like Cat Herders’ Day raises our awareness of others and helps us to appreciate them more throughout the year. So, enjoy yourself on December 15th and make sure you don’t – feline-in for it! 

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