As one of the most popular pets in the world, cats have many holidays and festivals that celebrate them. In addition to a wide variety of cat-centered holidays that focus on aspects of cat health or fun, there are cat festivals that function as trade shows and adoption points; one festival even commemorates an ancient practice involving cats.
The Kattenstoet, “Festival of the Cats,” has been held each year in Ypres, Belgium since 1955. Held annually on the second Sunday in May, the festival is a commemoration of a local tradition from the Middle Ages, in which cats were thrown from the belfry tower of the Cloth Hall.
It is thought that cats were first brought to live in the Cloth Hall, where wool was stored, as a method of controlling mice which gathered there during the winter. When spring came, the cats would then be tossed out of the hall.
Today’s modern festival consists of a town parade, with many people dressing up as cats or kittens. A court jester throws toy cats out of the Cloth Hall, in commemoration of the old tradition.
In North America, the Edmonton International Cat Festival has been celebrated each spring since 2014. A variety of cat-themed activities are included, such as a cat competition, viewing of cat-themed TV episodes, and a cat cafe, where patrons can spend time with kittens while drinking coffee.
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There is also a mock competition for the cats, and last year, there was even a visit by Pudge, a celebrity cat. Dozens of vendors participate, selling cat costumes, furniture, jewelry, and art. Fun cat photo and video contests are available, and there are expert presentations on all aspects of cat care.
Most importantly, cats are available for adoption during the festival, and all proceeds from the festival tickets go to support local cat rescue charities.
Cats have many special days throughout the calendar year. Sometimes, entire months are devoted to particular aspects of their health.
January 22nd is National Answer Your Cat’s Question Day, with cat lovers and veterinarians using the opportunity to share important information on cat health and answer questions on cat behavior, and even on the correct way to use catnip.
The entire month of February is set aside as National Cat Health Month. It is used to raise awareness of the importance of taking your cat for regular checkups and getting them spayed or neutered. Since February is also National Pet Dental Health Month, it is often used to promote brushing your cat’s teeth.
June is Adopt a Cat Month, and many cat adoption events are set up during this time.
Several days each year are devoted to specific types of cats.
October 16th is National Feral Cat Day, raising awareness about stray and wild cats.
November 17th is National Black Cat Day, an important holiday celebrating black cats. Due to their coloring and less distinctive markings, solid black cats are one of the least popular types of cats and are sometimes abandoned.
Cat holidays and festivals of all types serve the important function of promoting cat health and adoption, as well as celebrating them for the joy they bring to our lives.