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Humans and cats have had a very long and sometimes complicated relationship. From worshiping cats during Egyptian times to fearing them during the Middle Ages, people have been connected to these little creatures for several thousand years.

History of Global Cat Day

Today, domesticated cats continue to bring joy to many families as pets and friends, and Global Cat Day is here to honor these companions. Though their personalities can be a bit snobbish at times, there’s something quite soothing about having a cat curl up on your lap and fall asleep!

But when cats are not well cared for and become stray, problems can be created with overbreeding and their habitat becomes unhealthy and unsafe. Feral cats live in unhygienic conditions and can cause problems such as spreading disease to humans, livestock and wildlife in cities, suburbs and farms.

Some researchers estimate that, in the United States alone, there are approximately 60-100 million feral cats living on the streets. And these cats keep breeding more cats, in a very quick manner. As defenseless creatures, cats need humans to help protect them and work to stop overpopulation and disease.

Initiated by Alley Cat Allies, National Feral Cat Day was founded in 2001 to raise awareness for the problem of feral cats and promote the solution of more neuter and release programs. Eventually evolving into Global Cat Day in 2017, the day continues to have the same purpose: protect these creatures who can’t protect themselves.

Global Cat Day Timeline


Cats are accused of starting the Black Plague

Often held with suspicion by religious people during the Middle Ages, rulers had cats killed in large numbers as the plague was blamed on them.


Domestic cat is scientifically named

As the Zoological classification is established, the domesticated cat receives the name Felis catus. [1]


Cat show held at Madison Square Garden

Held at Madison Square Garden in New York City, this may not have been the first national cat show, but it is hailed as an important one in promoting the popularity of cats.[2]


Cats are divided into 8 lineages

Warren E. Johnson and Stephen J. O’Brien perform DNA tests on 37 different living cat species, allowing them to be divided into eight different original lineages.[3]


National Feral Cat Day is founded

Another predecessor to Global Cat Day, National Feral Cat Day is established by the Alley Cat Allies.[4]

How to Celebrate Global Cat Day

Global Cat Day can be observed in a wide variety of ways that is compassionate and helpful toward the cat population in the world. Consider implementing some of these ideas for Global Cat Day:

Learn More About Protecting Cats

Individuals and communities can benefit from getting educated on the problems and difficulties that face cats all across the US and the world. One of the main ways that Alley Cat Allies’, the sponsor for Global Cat Day, is working is to advocate and support a common-sense, lasting approach to helping cats. This includes the practice of non-lethal neutering that allows cats to be released back into their context after a minimal medical procedure.

Throw a Global Cat Day Party

Raise Awareness for the plight of cats and have fun at the same time by throwing a party in honor of Global Cat Day! Invite friends, family members or coworkers who are also compassionate toward cats and have a gathering that is themed all around these little feline creatures.

Ask guests to dress up with cat ears and a tail if they like. Decorate with cat-themed pictures and serve snacks that are cat-related, such as cupcakes or cookies decorated with adorable kitten faces!

Don’t forget to let guests know in advance that this party will be raising donations to help protect and save the lives of cats and kittens. Money can be collected and a donation made to Alley Cat Allies, the Stray Cat Alliance, or a local pet shelter that is working to give feral cats better lives. For shelters to perform a neutering surgery, it can cost as little as $20, so every dollar goes a long way!

Create a Cat Song Playlist

Get in the groove of celebrating Global Cat Day by listening to music that is related to these soft and furry creatures! Head over to Spotify, Apple music or another favorite music platform and create a collection of songs that will be perfect for celebrating the day.

Consider some of these cat-themed songs to get that playlist started:

  • Cool for Cats by Squeeze (1979). A rather eclectic song, this funky and catchy anthem is the title song for Squeeze’s album of the same name, stating that “It’s cool to be a cat”.
  • What’s New Pussycat by Tom Jones (1965). The theme song for the film by the same name, this intentionally outrageous song was also later featured in the 2001 film, Cats and Dogs.
  • Pads, Paws and Claws by Elvis Costello (1989). Written by Elvis Costello in conjunction with Paul McCartney, this song appears on the album, Spike. The song actually took its title from a children’s book that was found in a junk shop.
  • Everybody Wants to Be a Cat by the Aristocats (1971). Released in the Disney film, Aristocats, this catchy little children’s song inspires laughs and adventure while stating the obvious theme that all cats seem to believe – that they are superior creatures and everyone wants to be like them!

Spay and Neuter Pet Cats

Obviously, one of the most important things individuals can do to help mitigate the problem of stray cats is by spaying and neutering their own pets. It’s a simple procedure that can be done at the veterinarian’s office with just a little bit of recovery time. It’s possible to keep the population of cats down with a simple and affordable medical procedure.

Sign the Alley Cat Allies’ Pledge

Participate in Global Cat Day and get connected with others by pledging support to support compassionate policies that work toward protecting all cats. The more signatures that are on the commitment, the more power for change the organization has to advocate for better local policies that can help cats live better lives. 

Adopt a Cat from a Shelter

Stray cats of all shapes, sizes and colors arrive at pet shelters every day in need of good homes. Those who are ready to add a fluffy, feisty and independent little creature to their lives can contact a local cat shelter or pet shelter to arrange for a visit. And Global Cat Day is the perfect time to get motivated! Upon visiting, the staff will walk visitors through the available pets and help them choose one that would be good for their home and family.

Volunteer at a Cat Shelter

Those who want to do more for Global Cat Day than just raise awareness for one day might want to consider volunteering to help out at a local pet shelter or cat shelter on a regular basis. From cleaning cages and feeding cats to snuggling with them, volunteers can make a huge difference in the staffing that is needed to keep a compassionate charity like a pet shelter going.

Global Cat Day FAQs

How long do cats live?

The average lifespan for a pet cat is 12-18 years.[1]

Why do cats purr?

Cats purr as a way of soothing themselves, communicating or even for self-healing.[2]

How long are cats pregnant?

Cats are pregnant for around two months, or 60-68 days.[3]

Are cats smart?

Yes, cats are very smart. But they often don’t do what they are told because they don’t care what people think![4]

Do cats have 9 lives?

No! Cats only have one life, but they are pretty good about getting out of tricky situations, so they have a reputation for “having nine lives”.[5]

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