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International Cat Day is a full 24 hours of recognition and veneration for one of humanity’s oldest and most beloved pets–the cat! If they would lower themselves to have a conversation with a mere human, any cat would probably say that every day should be a day for celebrating cats all over the world. But this is one particular day that the humans have set aside each year for that purpose.

It’s time for International Cat Day!

History of International Cat Day

The original festivities for International Cat Day were put together for the first time in 2002 by IFAW, the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Along with other animal rights groups who joined in to celebrate, this was declared to be the day to appreciate and honor one of the most popular pets on the planet.

An estimated 500 million cats are thought to be frolicking in neighbors’ gardens across the world, which means that most every extended family is bound to have an aunt with more kittens than former husbands, no matter the country or climate.

And that’s great, because owning a cat has been shown to improve mental health and to relieve stress, anxiety and depression. So when it’s raining cats and dogs outside and there is no one to cuddle with, any black, ginger, Persian, Siamese, Burmese, Bengal, Shorthair, Munchkin, Balinese, RagaMuffin or any old stray cat will do the trick on International Cat Day.

So roll out the red carpet and the catnip for that furry feline friend, because International Cat Day is that one day a year when black cats bring good luck and there’s no judging for spoiling that kitty-cat.

International Cat Day Timeline

3000 BC

Cats allowed indoors by Ancient Egyptians

In an effort to control pests in granaries, Ancient Egyptians begin to allow wild cats inside to keep the mice at bay.[1]


Felix the Cat becomes a star

Often considered the world’s first star character of animated films, Felix the Cat makes his debut when he appears in the short film, “Feline Follies”, several years before Mickey Mouse comes on the scene.[2]


Cats, the musical, opens on Broadway

A tribute to feline friends, Cats, by Andrew Lloyd Weber opens as a success and eventually will become one of the most successful musicals on Broadway ever.[3]


First International Cat Day is celebrated

Founded by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, this day is created to raise awareness about the plight of cats while learning how to care for them and protect them.[4]


International Cat Care takes on International Cat Day

The responsibility and custodianship is passed to International Cat Care, which is a British organization that has been active in caring for cats since 1958.[5]

How to Celebrate International Cat Day

Since cats are often so low-key, observing International Cat Day can involve as much or as little as would be fun for each cat in the house. Perhaps one great way to start might be for everyone to take a cat nap!

Easy-going cats might enjoy making a big deal out of the day, while other cats might simply run and hide under the bed. Either way, humans can use some of these ideas to make International Cat Day a delight for all involved:

Volunteer at a Cat Shelter

One of the most important features of International Cat Day is not just the fun that can be had, but it’s about the need for raising awareness about the plight of many cats who don’t have homes to live in.

Animal shelters are often in need of volunteers to bathe, groom, play with and care for cats, as well as people to help with office work, marketing, cleaning or other important tasks. Pop by a local shelter today to see what kind of help could be offered–and let the staff know how much they are appreciated for what they do!

Make a Donation to a Cat Charity

No time to volunteer? That’s okay! International Cat Day is also a great time to make a monetary donation to help out a local cat shelter or animal shelter who might be struggling to finance the care and keeping of the cats in need. Or make a donation to a larger cat charity that supports the plight of these felines. Try out one of these for starters:

  • Petco Love. Run by the pet store called Petco, this charity aims to empower and inspire animal lovers to protect and save the lives of pets.
  • Winn Feline Foundation. A non-profit foundation that reaches all over the globe, Winn Feline Foundation funds health studies that allows cats to live healthier, happier, longer lives.
  • Alley Cat Allies. Another global organization, this one works to advocate for the human treatment of cats, while being dedicated to protect their lives.
  • Best Friends Animal Society. With a no-kill policy, this organization creates a shelter and space for abused and homeless animals. Plus, they have a program to trap, neuter and release to reduce feral cat populations.
  • International Cat Care. For over 60 years, this charity has provided help, support and a host of free resources to cat owners and caregivers worldwide.

Adopt a Cat for International Cat Day

Bring some love right into the living room and help out a little life by adopting a cat. Cats are fairly easy to take care of, they are rather independent, they make great roommates, they are often good with children and they are low-maintenance. A large variety of cats are just waiting for a loving individual or family to take them home and care for them!

Dress with a Nod to International Cat Day

Cat eye sunglasses match any part of a wardrobe on this important day of celebration. Choose that headband with the little cat ears, try on a striped hat (along the lines of Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat), wear those slippers with cats on them or go all out by donning a full Catwoman suit. Anything that needs to be done today can certainly be done with a little acknowledgment of International Cat Day!

Make a Veterinarian Appointment

International Cat Day is the ideal day to remember to take care of the cat’s health. Use it as an opportunity to call the vet and schedule a checkup or preventative appointment to make sure all is going well with them. Since cats are very good at covering up signs of illness or pain, it’s a great idea to make sure they are seen by a doctor regularly to make sure they’re healthy and happy.

Spoil a Cat for International Cat Day

This is the perfect day to buy the cat a new toy, bed, or perhaps that extra fancy, gourmet food! Treat that little four-legged feline friend right and throw him or her a little International Cat Day party to celebrate the VIP of the day. Those who don’t have a cat of their own might want to buy some supplies and take them to the local cat shelter as a donation.

Visit a Local Cat Cafe

Those who don’t have a cat of their own don’t have to miss out on the fun of International Cat Day! This is the perfect time to pop by a cat cafe for a little beverage or snack and, of course, some interaction with cats. The cats in these types of cafes can not only be watched, but often are the kind that like to play with humans. Many times, the cats who reside at cat cafes are available for adoption, so it’s a great way to enjoy some trial time with a cat to see if they are a good fit.

Those who can’t find a cat cafe locally might want to watch a little sit-com about a cat cafe, Call me Kat, which stars Mayim Bialik and Swoosie Kurtz.

Dress Your Cat in a Cute Costume

Take International Cat Day one step further by dressing up that adorable, furry cat in a costume that would make any cat lover proud. Tons of different options for cat costumes are available online, including ideas like cowboy hats for cats, Harry Potter striped scarf and round cat glasses, a feather boa, pirate costume, or even a cat dressed up in a bunny suit!

International Cat Day FAQs

When is International Cat Day?

International Cat Day takes place on August 8. Other similar days include National Hug Your Cat Day on June 4, National Black Cat Day on October 27 and Happy Cat Month in September.

Why do cats purr?

Cats communicate through their purring. It is assumed that cats usually purr from contentment, but also may purr when in pain or discomfort. It might even be a way to create healing vibrations.[1]

What is International Cat Day?

Created with the idea of appreciating cats, International Cat Day is simply a day to help raise awareness of how to care for and protect felines, one of the world’s most popular pets.[2]

Are cats better than dogs?

Since this is the celebration of International Cat Day, the answer for many people might have to be a resounding yes! But, also, for those who think the answer is different, may want to look into National Dog Day, which is observed on August 26. Why not celebrate both?!

What do cats dream about?

Some cats certainly have something going on while they are sleeping. Many scientists believe they are probably dreaming about being on the hunt.[3]

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