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National Cat Day in Japan 2023: How & When is It Celebrated?

cat infront of Japanese shrine
Image Credit: tagu, Shutterstock
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Kristin Hitchcock

National Cat Day in Japan is celebrated on February 22 every year. This date was chosen because the date in Japanese resembles “nyan nyan nyan,” which means “meow meow meow.” Therefore, it’s a bit of a pun—if you speak Japanese.

This date was decided after a poll in 1978, which was run by the Executive Cat Day Committee. (Yes, this minor holiday really has a committee).

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How is National Cat Day Celebrated?

Of course, this holiday is not celebrated widely. However, various local businesses often have cat-themed cuisine or activities. For instance, at some libraries, cat-related books are featured. Many schools also celebrate the day with special readings or projects.

In some areas, gatherings centered around cats are held. However, these are organized locally and vary a lot from year-to-year. Those looking to participate in one of these gatherings typically have to have their ear to the ground for news as the date approaches.

Cats are one of the most popular pets in Japan. Therefore, the popularity of this day isn’t surprising. Even if someone doesn’t have a cat, they are likely to notice the increase in cat-themed items and activities in February.

Cat on a signal in Japan
Image Credit: Pabkov, Shutterstock

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What Does a Cat Symbolize in Japan?

Cats are extremely popular pets in Japan. Likely, this is because many pet-related regulations are stricter in Japan, making it more difficult to own dogs. Plus, cats are thought to bring good fortune to their homes in Japan. Cats are built into Japanese culture in a way that they aren’t in other countries. Therefore, cats are widely accepted and a very common pet.

Japan is home to many cat-based businesses. For instance, you’ll find tons of good-luck cat figurines, as well as cat-themed tea stores and similar businesses. Many people own cats in Japan, but they are also deep in Japanese culture.

Cat in Japan with Buddhist
Image Credit: SAND555UG, Shutterstock

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National Cat Day in Japan is celebrated similarly to cat day in other countries. Often, there are themed items, cuisine, and activities that cat lovers can participate in during this time. Furthermore, cat lovers may gather for different activities on the day itself.

However, this day isn’t a national holiday. Therefore, while many people will know what the day is, they usually don’t go all-out for the celebration. Many people work on this day, which makes any major celebration impossible. Furthermore, while cats are important in Japanese culture, they aren’t so important that workers regularly get the day off.

Featured Image Credit: tagu, Shutterstock

About the Author

Kristin Hitchcock
Kristin Hitchcock
Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!

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