International Cat Day is celebrated globally on the 8th of August every year to honour and raise awareness about our feline companions. It also provides an opportunity for cat lovers worldwide to express their love and appreciation for their pets whilst acknowledging the joy, companionship and positive impact that cats bring to their lives.
One of the primary objectives of International Cat Day is to encourage cat adoption. Animal shelters and rescue centres often struggle with an overpopulation of cats, and this day aims to inspire people to consider providing a loving home to a cat in need. By considering adoption, individuals can contribute to reducing the number of strays and offer these cats a chance at a better life.
If adoption is something you’re considering, why not check out the following resources?
If you’re unable to commit to adoption, fostering or sponsoring a cat in need is a great way to contribute too.
This International Cat Day, we want to celebrate tales of greatness. It’s an undeniable fact that cats have been adored throughout time, captivating our hearts for generations with their independent yet affectionate nature. So join us as we explore the stories of some of the most iconic cats in history.
Félicette was a courageous feline pioneer who continues to hold a unique place in the history of space exploration. In 1963, she became the first and only cat to have travelled to space. Originally a stray cat from the streets of Paris, Félicette was selected for a groundbreaking mission conducted by the French space agency, CNES. Renamed from her humble origins as ‘Astrocat’, Félicette underwent rigorous training to prepare for her extraordinary journey.
On October 18, 1963, Félicette was launched aboard a Véronique AGI rocket from the Hammaguir launch facility in the Sahara Desert. During her brief, suborbital flight Félicette experienced approximately five minutes of weightlessness before returning to Earth via parachute.
Though her journey was short-lived, her mission sparked debates around animal ethics, ultimately paving the way for anti-animal testing legislation to be passed. Since her death, no further cats have successfully been sent to space.
In 2020, nearly 60 years after her journey, a bronze statue of Félicette was unveiled at the International Space University in France to honour her trailblazing sacrifice.
Unsinkable Sam, the legendary feline survivor, stands as a testament to feline resilience and luck. During World War II, Sam served as a ship's cat aboard not one, but three different vessels from opposing sides. His remarkable journey began on the German battleship Bismarck, where he first earned the name Oscar.
When the Bismarck sank after a battle in 1941, he miraculously managed to escape the sinking ship and was rescued by British sailors. After his miraculous survival, Oscar found himself on board the HMS Cossack, a British destroyer.
However, fate seemed determined to test him once more. When the Cossack was torpedoed and sunk by a German U-boat in the Atlantic, Oscar cheated death yet again, emerging from the wreckage soaked but unscathed. His miraculous escape earned him the nickname ‘Unsinkable Sam’, a moniker that would forever etch his name in feline history.
Remarkably, Sam's incredible luck extended even further, as he was later transferred to another British ship, the HMS Ark Royal. Sadly, his streak came to an end when the Ark Royal was torpedoed by a German submarine in 1941, leading to its eventual sinking. Luckily, Sam survived the attack and retired from naval service, having proven himself a true survivor and a symbol of feline resilience against the chaos of war.
The story of a street cat named Bob is one of companionship and redemption. Bob's journey began when he crossed paths with James Bowen, a struggling street musician recovering from drug addiction. James took in the injured ginger cat and nursed him back to health, unaware of the profound impact Bob would have on his own well-being.
Bob's presence brought a newfound sense of purpose into James' life, providing him with companionship and unwavering support during times of difficulty. The remarkable duo captured the attention of passersby and the wider media ultimately catapulting the pair into the public eye. Whilst busking for crowds across London, Bob would always be found perched on James's shoulder.
James and Bob’s story has now been shared through books and film adaptations (Bob, of course, playing himself) - becoming an inspirational testament to the transformative power of love and the unbreakable bond between humans and animals. Though Bob has now passed away, James continues to work with homeless prevention and animal welfare charities, inspired by the chance encounter that changed his life.
A statue commemorating Bob can now be found in Islington Green, London, depicting the beloved cat perched upon the stack of books he inspired his owner to write.
International Cat Day seeks to foster greater compassion and understanding about cats and their place in our world. By highlighting these important aspects, International Cat Day can continue to contribute to the overall welfare and happiness of cats everywhere, whilst also promoting a deeper understanding and appreciation for the remarkable creatures we call our friends.
Whilst allowing us to celebrate and honour the cats with whom we share our lives, International Cat Day strongly encourages adoption and responsible pet ownership, reminding current and prospective owners alike of the necessary care and love cats require in order to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
Adopting a cat can be one of the most rewarding experiences, especially for animal lovers. It’s a well-known fact that cats provide companionship, entertainment, and multiple benefits to their owner's mental health. By adopting a cat, you’re not only gaining a loving companion but also contributing to saving a life and providing a forever home for an animal in need.
If you’re interested in adopting or sponsoring a cat this International Cat Day, check out the resources mentioned above or contact your local rescue shelter.
It’s an undeniable fact that cats have been an integral part of our shared journey through time. So on this International Cat Day, let’s show our friends some extra love as they've well and truly earned their place not just in our homes, but in the tapestry of human history itself.
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