Tomorrow is National Cat Day. To those of us who have cats, every day is a ‘cat day’; every day is filled with taking care of them, feeding them, cleaning their litter-boxes and cleaning the cats themselves, if need be. We play with them, talk to them, keep them safe, every day. So why is there a National Cat Day?
Firstly, I think simply calling the event ‘national’ limits its scope. The purpose of the day is to make people aware of the need to rescue homeless and abused cats, and to celebrate those felines who have families and friends, and the positive effect those cats have on us. If this is indeed the reason for the day, then restricting it to any one country is like trying to rid only one country in the world of poverty. We need not simply start here, or there. One person trying to make a difference must begin somewhere, but if an entire planet is involved in solving a problem, then a beginning may be made everywhere.
This internationalism of Cat Day emphasizes its purpose. We who have cats in our lives know their value. This day is similar to a recruitment drive by a social club: it’s not so much for those who already belong, but for those who don’t. Yet by telling others about our cats, and our lives with cats, we most effectively spread the word about these astonishing creatures.
Though I have four cats now, my feline family started with one. Her name was Tungsten. She was already seven when I adopted her; at least, that’s at what her age was estimated. For seven and a half years, she was my friend. She was much like myself: introverted and quiet, active to an extent but preferring a relaxing evening at home. Neither of us cared for politics and we were both terrible at tennis. So we were a good fit.
Tungsten, and those who came after her - Josie, Renn, Tucker, Cammie, and my foster-cats (Lincoln, Mystery, Wixie, Devon, Rachael, Bear-Bear, Kola, Noah) - were more than just companions. Cats are teachers; teachers of patience and calm, of logical thinking and of dealing with illogical beings. They force us to manage finances and to understand medicine; to plan and to improvise, and to resign ourselves to failure at times. They show us responsibility, for they are living creatures entirely dependent on our ability to care for them.
But even if they were none of these things, they would remain, at the very least, our friends. And that, certainly, is reason enough for them to have their own day.
Tungsten died on March 26th, 2015.