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Be Kind to Animals Week: 2024 Update & How to Celebrate It

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on March 20, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

young woman holding cute siberian cat

Be Kind to Animals Week: 2024 Update & How to Celebrate It

Be Kind to Animals Week is celebrated annually during the first week of May. It was created by American Humane, a non-profit animal welfare organization based in Washington, DC. The event has been on the calendar since 1915 and is one of the oldest organized awareness weeks out there, but the US Congress only passed the official resolution recognizing the event in the 1990s!

While it’s been celebrated in various ways, the special day has focused mainly on animal welfare education and outreach. American Humane produces a series of educational materials for children full of information on topics such as farm animals and animal actor welfare. It also encourages people to do animal-friendly things during Be Kind to Animals Week, such as adopting pets from shelters and taking extra special care of their furry companions. American Humane has been working on behalf of animal welfare since 1877 1.

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Does American Humane Have Suggestions for Ways to Be Kind to Animals?

While you can always go all out and do something extra special for animals during the first week of May, many of American Humane’s suggestions and tips can be implemented any time during the year!

1. Take American Humane’s Kindness Pledge

American Humane focuses on animal welfare, and some of the tips they provide are geared towards protecting non-companion animals such as farm animals and wildlife. The Kindness Pledge includes four steps to make life a bit easier for pets, animals in zoos, and those farmed for food.

The pledge asks signatories to agree to only visit certified zoos and aquariums, buy humanely raised animal products, adopt from shelters, and support movies where animal welfare is taken seriously during filming. There’s a Be Kind to Animals website where you can take the pledge at any time!

2. Adopt a Cat from a Shelter

two women adopting cats at the shelter
Image By: BearFotos, Shutterstock

Numerous pets are waiting for forever homes in shelters and rescues, which have trouble placing the large number of cats and kittens that regularly come through their doors. Cats adopted from shelters are often mixed-breed domestic shorthair cats, otherwise known as moggies, and they almost always make amazing companions.

Moggies are incredibly adaptable; they’re often comfortable in a variety of environments and are usually happy to go with the flow. While all cats can become ill, moggies are often considered healthier than purebred cats. They’re also generally quite clever, making them easy to train.

3. Take Care of Your Pet

Cats are notorious for hiding signs of illness, and it’s challenging to determine if they aren’t feeling well. American Humane encourages you to become familiar with the common signs of illness, such as lethargy, hiding, bloody urine, difficulty going to the bathroom, discharge from the eyes or nose, itchy skin, and hair loss, so you can monitor your cat’s health and know when you should consider reaching out for veterinary guidance.

The organization also encourages pet owners to learn the difference between emergencies that require immediate veterinary intervention and those that are serious and need to be addressed but are less urgent. Always contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your cat’s health!

4. Be Nice to Wildlife

Image Credit: Ancha Chiangmai, Shutterstock

Encouraging wildlife like butterflies and birds to come by and hang out can bring beauty to your world and create space for nature to thrive. American Humane has several tips for dealing with wildlife, like deer, squirrels, and skunks, that can wreak havoc on gardens.

Methods such as choosing plants that are naturally unattractive to problem animals, removing outdoor food sources, using trash cans with locking lids, capping chimneys, and installing fencing to keep critters away from deck areas and gardens are all humane ways to coexist with many types of wildlife visitors.

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What Other Activities Does American Humane Do to Support Animals?

American Humane’s No Animals Were Harmed program monitors film productions to ensure the safety of animal actors. Barbie and Mission Impossible: Dead Reckoning Part One are just two of the many recent films to earn No Animals Were Harmed certifications.

The organization is also behind a program in which farmers who comply with humane best practices can earn an American Humane Certified stamp of approval. There’s also a Humane Conservation certification for zoos and aquariums that meet the organization’s suggested animal welfare standards. It also hands out the Wolfgang Kiessling International Prize for serious work in the field of conservation and runs a rescue team that responds to assist animals during emergencies.

cats in animal shelter
Image By: Yulia Grigoryeva, Shutterstock

Interesting Facts About Be Kind to Animals Week

Famous people have lent their support to the organization’s mission over the years, and the event has been incorporated into our cultural history!

  • Milton Berle, Dan Haggerty, Joan Van Ark, John Wayne, Patty Duke, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Wagner, and Shirley Jones have all been official spokespeople for the event. National Kindness Chairmen have included Betty White, Carol Burnett, and Doris Day.
  • Bill Clinton issued an official statement in honor of the week back in 1993. Warren G. Harding did the same thing in 1922.
  • Eleanor Roosevelt wrote about the event in her syndicated column in 1943.
  • The event was celebrated on Romper Room, a popular children’s television show in the 1970s.
  • Be Kind to Animals Week appeared in the popular cartoon Tom and Jerry. After learning about Be Nice to Animals Week, Tom decided to be nice to Jerry.
  • A Be Nice to Animals Week-themed Dennis the Menace cartoon was published in the 1950s.

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Be Kind to Animals Week occurs during the first week of May. It’s been around since 1915 and is one of the oldest awareness-raising weeks. American Humane, an animal welfare organization that has been hard at work since 1877, created the event, which concentrates on raising awareness about and providing education on animal welfare.

American Humane’s mission includes companion animals, animal actors, and wildlife. It also runs a disaster response rescue team that responds to assist animals in emergencies. The organization’s suggestions for being kind to animals include adopting cats from shelters, finding ways to coexist with wildlife peacefully, and purchasing humanely raised animal products.

Featured Image Credit: evrymmnt, Shutterstock

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