That’s right, there’s a holiday set aside specifically for hugging your cat, although you can do it any time. And the authorities can’t seem to agree on whether it’s celebrated on May 30 or June 4, so you might just have to celebrate twice. Why not take some time this national cat day to help your cat — and others?
5 Things You Can Do For Your Feline Friend on National Hug Your Cat Day
1. Medical checkup and vaccines. When was the last time your cat went to the vet for a routine health examination? Some pet owners only go to the vet when they need to, but feline wellness and preventative care are important! Your vet can check your cat’s weight and overall health, administer any necessary vaccines and identify any problems that might need monitoring. While you’re there, you can also have your cat microchipped if she hasn’t been already, to make it easier for her to find her way home again if she gets lost. And if your cat hasn’t been spayed or neutered yet, now’s the time to make that appointment.
2. Dental care. Cats need dental care too, including regular examinations, dental prophylaxis and home care. Without dental care, cats can be susceptible to painful infections, some of which can spread beyond the mouth to other areas of the body. While your cat is at the vet for a checkup, her mouth should get a thorough look-see, and she might need a dental procedure to remove caked plaque and tartar as well as extract any unhealthy teeth. While you’re there, you can learn about home dental care for your cat, including how to brush your cat’s teeth and what kinds of dental treats will help your cat’s teeth stay healthy.
3. Environmental enrichment. Life can get boring for any cat, especially one who lives indoors (a good choice for your cat, as it can extend her lifespan and help neighborhood birds). Try switching things up a bit with some new toys, beds, climbing posts and shelves to keep your cat’s environment dynamic and interesting, and remember that play should be part of any healthy cat’s life. Why not take this opportunity to commit to half an hour of daily play with your cat for the next year to enrich your relationship and keep both of you healthy and happy? Interacting with animals has benefits for people, too!
4. Are you up on pet first aid? Knowing what to do in an emergency can save a life. Consider taking a pet first aid course and assembling a kit so you’re ready to help your cat in an emergency. Your skills could make the difference in a critical situation, buying enough time to get to a veterinarian. Furthermore, pet first aid skills and a car kit can be extremely useful when you’re on the go; you won’t have to stand by with a helpless feeling if you see an animal in distress!
5. Set up your go bag. Not just for your cat, but for you. Are you ready to evacuate in a snap if you need to? Make sure you have a bag with all the supplies you need to get out of your house quickly and safely with your feline associate(s) in tow. In addition to your supplies like important papers, keep a stash of veterinary records, a supply of any medications your cat takes, cat food and toys. That way you’ll be ready to go in a flash and you won’t have to worry about gathering things at the last minute.
5 Ways to Help Cats on National Hug Your Cat Day
1. Adopt a Friend! If you don’t have a cat, or you have room for another, why not visit an animal shelter and find a new friend? For extra points, consider adopting an older or special-needs cat who might have a hard time finding a home in the midst of all the eye-catching cute kittens at the shelter. Older cats can be more mellow, make great companions and form affectionate, lasting bonds with their new human friends. And you’ll have fans at the shelter for life.
2. Play with shelter cats. Okay, so you can’t adopt, but you can enrich the lives of cats living in animal shelters. Many shelters accept and love volunteers who help them socialize their cats and keep the living environment interesting. You’ll get to play with all kinds of cats, handle kittens and help kitties find their forever homes. Such a good deal, you’ll wonder why the shelter lets you do it for free.
3. Contribute to a local animal welfare organization. Many national organizations need help too, but local groups often struggle for attention and funding. Whether it’s a humane trap, neuter, release (TNR) for local strays or a group that runs a no-kill shelter, they probably need your contributions; that’s especially true with groups that subsidize spay/neuter procedures for low-income people. If you can’t afford to give, many accept in-kind donations of supplies, along with skills; maybe you’re a graphic designer who can help with their new website, or a party planner who can assist with event planning for their next fundraiser. Think outside the (litter) box!
4. Promote anti-cruelty legislation. Many states are considering tougher anti-cruelty legislation or have such laws on the books but don’t widely enforce them. Write your legislators to explain why you support tougher penalties for animal cruelty, and make sure your local law enforcement agencies know that you support full investigation and prosecution of offenders. Help make the world a safer place for all animals!
5. Big cats need love too, although we don’t recommend hugging them. Many big cat species are threatened or endangered, or live in inhumane conditions in zoos and animal parks. As long as you’ve got feline welfare on the brain, why not throw big cats a helping paw too? Numerous organizations promote big cat conservation, provide care to abused big cats and shelter cats who cannot be returned to the wild.
Photo credit: Jimee, Jackie, Tom & Asha