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No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.

Abraham Lincoln

Who doesn’t love a baby kitten? Kittens can be some of the softest, sweetest, most delightful creatures on earth! With their gentle disposition and their adorable mewing, they can make almost anyone’s heart melt.

History of National Kitten Day

According to recent records, it is believed that cats and kittens have been domesticated for almost 10,000 years – or possibly even more. A long-time companion of humans, cats and their adorable kitten offspring, the ones who this day is all about, hold a unique place in the home and in culture.

Some ancient cultures, such as Ancient Egypt, revered cats and kittens. In fact, these feline friends were so beloved that they were often buried with their humans so that they could be reunited in the afterlife. Sometimes, when a cat or kitten died, the human family would mourn the loss by shaving their eyebrows to indicate their grief.

In modern times, kittens and cats continue to bring joy and delight to individuals, families and kitten lovers of all ages! With their fluffy fur and tiny pointy ears, it’s no wonder that people fall in love with them. Even when they grow up and act a bit like they rule the world, they are still valued and beloved members of the family.

Although some people would say that dogs are “man’s best friend”, other people would argue that kittens and cats are in the running for this title! And that’s part of the reason to celebrate National Kitten Day!

Colleen Paige, a pet lover, animal behaviorist, writer and author, founded National Kitten Day in 2012. The purpose of the day is to raise awareness for the plight of kittens and cats that need to be rescued each year. Many activists like to use this day to raise funds for charitable organizations that help kittens and cats, especially those who spay and neuter feral cats, helping to minimize the populations and making sure the world doesn’t have more kittens than it can take care of!

National Kitten Day Timeline

7500 BC

Cats are becoming domesticated

In the Near East, kittens and cats are already being domesticated as pets.[1]

1890

Taxidermist William Potter finishes “Kitten’s Wedding”

A strange depiction of 20 stuffed cats, this art installation puts kittens in the human position of attending a wedding.[2]

1935

Short film, Three Orphan Kittens, is released

Produced by Walt Disney Productions, this animated film wins the Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Cartoons).[3]

1946

Shy Little Kitten is published

A favorite classic of children, this Little Golden Book is released with delightful illustrations by Gustaf Tenggren.[4]

2012

National Kitten Day is founded

Celebrated in December for two years, National Kitten Day is eventually moved to be celebrated in July.

How to Celebrate National Kitten Day

Observing and enjoying National Kitten Day comes with all sorts of opportunities, whether you’re a new kitten owner, have had kittens around all of your life, or haven’t yet become the main human for a kitten. In any case, try out some of these ideas for celebrating and raising awareness for National Kitten Day:

Spoil Your Kitten or Cat

Those who are already owners of kittens or cats might take advantage of National Kitten Day to splurge on them. Buy them a new toy, update their scratching post or give them an extra fancy dinner that they love. Sing them a song. Scratch them where they love it. Play with a laser pointer. And just give them some attention!

While many kittens are too young for catnip, as they grow older to approximately 6 months or a year, most cats will begin to love it. So indulging your kitten with a bit of catnip in honor of the day is a great way to treat them.

Take Your Kitten or Cat to the Vet

National Kitten Day is also a great reminder for kitten and cat owners to take their beloved pets to the veterinarian. Most people don’t realize that they should take their healthy adult cats to visit the vet two times per year.

Kittens should visit the vet once every 3-4 weeks during the first 16 weeks of their lives, allowing them to receive a series of vaccinations that will keep them healthy and protect them from getting dangerous and even life-threatening diseases.

Learn Fun Facts About Kittens

In spreading awareness about National Kitten Day, remind friends and family that they can celebrate too. And in doing so, have some fun enjoying and sharing these bits of trivia, like these:

  • Kittens are born with their eyes closed. At about 7-10 days, a kitten will open her eyes, but their vision will not be fully developed until they are 5 weeks old.

  • Kittens have superior senses. They have a special nasal organ that helps them to smell, and they have one of the best hearing capabilities of land animals.

  • When they are born, kitten’s eyes are blue, kind of like the way human babies are born with blue eyes. Some breeds will retain their blue color, like Siamese, but most will change to another color, like green or yellow-green.

Volunteer at a Pet Shelter or Kitten Rescue

Take care of the most vulnerable creatures by volunteering to help out at a rescue shelter. Most places are looking for a long term commitment (for example, 3 hours per month) and they’ll train their volunteers to do various odd jobs. Volunteers might clean cages or litter boxes, play with the kittens, train them, socialize them and more.

Adopt a Kitten or a Cat

Of course, pet adoption should be taken very seriously, and a kitten is a big responsibility. So people should only adopt kittens if they are certain that they can care for them well and are available to give them the extra attention they need. 

For those lovers of kittens who may not be quite ready for a long-term commitment, kitten fostering might also be a viable option that can help out in the short term. The best way to start doing this is to begin volunteering at a shelter or pet rescue center, gaining trust and building relationships with the organization.

Make a Donation to a Kitten Charity

For those who may not have time to be actively involved with adopting a kitten or volunteering at a shelter, another important way to celebrate National Kitten Day is by making a donation to a local, national or international non-profit organization that supports the plight of kittens.

Consider the Winn Feline Foundation to the Alley Cat Allies. Look into the National Cat Protection Society or Hearts that Purr Feline Guardians. Whatever organization is chosen, certainly they’ll be able to make use of donations whether large or small. Helping kittens and cats is what they’re all about.

National Kitten Day FAQs

Can kittens have catnip?

Kittens can have catnip if they want it, but most kittens aren’t attracted to it until they become cats of 6-12 months.[1]

Are kittens smart?

Yes! Kittens can be very smart pets, understanding a variety of things and also having a good memory.[2]

Do kittens have teeth?

Kittens are born without teeth. The first baby teeth appear in kittens between 2 and 4 weeks.[3]

How do kittens play?

Kittens like to play with people and objects through activities like stalking, pouncing, biting, jumping and clawing.[4]

Should kittens drink milk?

Kittens should not drink cow’s milk. They should either drink their mother’s milk or kitten milk replacement formula that is lactose free.[5]

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