A cat pushes her head against a book entitled "Catnip"

International Cat Day

| Burlington County Library

For 20 years, cat lovers around the world have had a special day to honor their feline friends. Celebrated each year on Aug. 8, International Cat Day was created in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare and in 2020 International Cat Care (iCatCare) began overseeing the celebration. In honor of this special occasion, let’s take a peek at two major lineages of cats that contributed to the furry friends we love today.

About 8,000 years ago, cats likely started hanging around farms where they began a mutually beneficial relationship with humans by providing pest control in exchange for food and shelter. They spread from southwest Asia into Europe. A second lineage of African cats dominated Egypt around 1500 BCE, most likely because people enjoyed their sociability and tameness.

Thousands of years later, cats are now among the world’s most popular pets. There are an estimated 600+ million cats across the globe (though it’s hard to truly know the exact number). Cats have many benefits. They can reduce stress and anxiety for those who pet them and play with them, or simply enjoy their company. One scientific study revealed just listening to a cat’s purr can lower stress levels! Feline companionship is also a great way to combat loneliness. Cats are relatively low maintenance and have long lifespans (16-20 years), making them great companions for people in many different walks of life.

Thinking about adopting a cat? The Burlington County Animal Shelter (BCAS) is a wonderful resource for prospective cat owners. You can visit the shelter in person or look at a gallery of available cats online, then fill out an application to begin the adoption process. If approved, you get to bring your new furry companion home! If adopting a cat isn’t an option for you right now, BCAS is always looking for volunteers. You can also participate in the Save a Senior program by donating $45 to cover the adoption fee for an approved owner.

Whether you’re a self-proclaimed cat person or not, we can all appreciate the benefits of cats in our society. Take a look back at our article from June, Adopt-a-Cat Month, to learn more and discover additional highlights from our collection.

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