With their big eyes, wispy tails, and squeaky meows, kittens might be tiny, but they’re massively adorable. Sadly, though, not all kittens have safe, loving homes to call their own, which is why National Kitten Day is such an important holiday. Celebrated on July 10 every year, it spreads the word about homeless kittens and promotes adoption and donations for shelters.
If you want to celebrate it, here’s an introduction to National Kitten Day, what it’s for, and why it was started.
When Is National Kitten Day?
Although National Kitten Day was originally hosted in December, it was moved to July around 2 years after it was founded. Today, the holiday lands on July 10 every year. With the warm summer weather, it’s the perfect chance to host a barbecue to celebrate, raise funds for shelters, or find a sunny spot to take a catnap with your kitten.
The History of National Kitten Day
With the success of holidays like National Cat Day, National Kitten Day was introduced to put the focus on kittens. Colleen Paige, an animal lover, welfare activist, and behaviorist, started the holiday in 2012. She created it in the hopes of spreading awareness of what kittens go through when they’re surrendered to shelters or abandoned on the streets.
Since 2012, it’s become a favorite holiday for cat lovers to celebrate. It’s the perfect chance to adopt a kitten of your own, host a fundraiser, or support your local shelter.
How to Celebrate National Kitten Day
If you’re a cat lover, National Kitten Day is the perfect holiday to celebrate, whether you have a kitten or elderly cat or just dream of having a purring furball of your very own. Celebrating is easy, as there are all sorts of ways to spread the word and spoil your cat for the day.
1. Adopt or Foster a Kitten
Many animals of all ages are in shelters. Kittens might get adopted quickly, but they’re also frequently surrendered due to their care needs, energy levels, and general kitten mischief. If you’ve thought long and hard about whether you have the means to care for a kitten—and not just when they’re young and fluffy but also when they’re fully grown—National Kitten Day is a good excuse to go to your local shelter to adopt one.
You can also foster kittens if you’re not sure cat ownership is for you. Fostering helps to give animals a loving space and the socialization that they need, at least temporarily. It also frees space in the shelter while the kittens find forever homes. You might even find that you love them so much, you just can’t let them go!
2. Spend Time With Your Cat
National Kitten Day is a good holiday to celebrate if you already have a cat, no matter how old they are. Reminisce about their kitten days with a photo album, or take pictures of your kitten to start a picture diary of their own.
You can also spoil them with plenty of attention, their favorite treats, or a new toy. If your kitten is older than 6 months, they might even start showing interest in catnip, so give them a new catnip toy and see how they react.
3. Volunteer or Donate to a Shelter
Shelters handle so many animals at any one time that most places are always looking for an extra pair of hands or funding to support an already tight budget. Consider donating toys and food, or save up part of your paycheck to offer support.
You can also volunteer a bit of your free time. As a volunteer, you’ll be able to spend time with the kittens but also learn how to take care of them. You’ll be expected to help clean the cages and litter trays, make sure the cats have water, and keep them fed. There are many other jobs to do around the shelter too, including helping kittens meet their new families.
4. Spread Awareness
Like all national holidays, National Kitten Day has a hashtag on social media. Spread awareness of the day by sharing shelter posts about kittens that need homes, or share pictures of your kitten and all the mischief that they get up to. You can also spend time sharing cat-care tips for new kitten owners to help them settle into their new responsibilities as cat parents.
5. Support a TNR Program
The sad truth is that many kittens grow up on the streets without loving homes. This often results in more community cats when the intact cats reproduce. Since they reach sexual maturity at 4 months old, female cats can have kittens when they’re still kittens themselves.
One way to tackle the population of feral cats is through trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs. This is a humane approach to handling community cats that are too feral to live with humans. The cats are caught, neutered or spayed, vaccinated, ear-tipped, and then returned to where they were found.
You can help by donating to your local TNR program. This will help the volunteers, veterinarians, and other advocates fund the program in your area, allowing for more feral cats to go through the TNR program and reduce the number of kittens on the streets.
6. Host a Fundraiser
Perhaps you can’t spare time to volunteer, or you don’t have enough spare change to donate to a shelter. You can still help out! Host your own National Kitten Day fundraiser, and invite your friends, family, or your cat-loving neighbors. You could do a lucky dip with cat toys or a raffle, and donate all the proceeds to your local shelter to help kittens that need homes.
If you get in touch with your local shelter beforehand, you might even be able to arrange for your guests to meet the kittens during the event. The kittens might find their forever homes or just enjoy cuddles.
National Kitten Day is celebrated on July 10 every year. It was founded in 2012 and is dedicated to homeless kittens to help spread awareness of their lives in shelters or on the streets. You can celebrate by donating or volunteering to your local shelter, spoiling your kitten with cuddles, helping to spread awareness with the hashtag #NationalKittenDay, or adopting a kitten of your own.
Featured Image Credit: Andrey Sayfutdinov, Shutterstock