August 8 marks International Cat Day, a special holiday to celebrate the Internet’s favorite pet. The International Fund for Animal Welfare created the holiday to raise awareness for cats in need.
Today isn’t the only holiday dedicated to cats. There’s also National Cat Day on October 29 and World Cat Day on February 17. Considering the passion people have for cats, we can’t show them all our love in just one day.
Here’s what you need to know about International Cat Day.
1. International Cat Day Was Created by the IFAW in 2002
International Cat Day was created by the International Fund for Animal Welfare in 2002.
The IFAW has existed since 1969 and was founded in Canada. The animal rights group has projects in over 40 countries, with the goal of saving animals in need, including cats. The group also helps save animals after disasters and tries to save populations from cruelty and hunting.
“Our vision is a world where animals are respected and protected,” reads a statement on their site. “Our promise: We promise supporters and policy makers effective animal protection solutions delivered with intelligence, compassion and integrity.”
“Conservation decisions should be guided by ecological and biological sustainability,” IFAW President and CEO Azzedine Downes wrote in a July column for the Huffington Post. “As human population and development expands, the world’s wild spaces are disappearing, which in turn has a direct correlation to the biological diversity of an area. We need animals, as they are important to people and the planet.”
2. Over 30 Percent of American Households Own a Cat as a Pet
According to statistics from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, 30.4 percent of American households have a cat as a pet. That’s a little less than dogs, as 36.5 percent of American households have canines. However, there are more cats owned as pets than dogs, since it’s easier to have more than one cat than it is to have more than one dog.
The 2012 AVMA statistics estimate that there were 74.06 million cats owned as pets and the average cat-owning household has 2.1. But the average dog-owning household only has 1.6.
The Washington Post noted in 2014 that cats are more popular in the Northeast and Upper Midwest, while dogs are popular in the South and Southeast.
However, outside of the U.S., dogs outnumber cats 10-to-1 in India, but cats outnumber dogs 3-to-1 in Switzerland, Turkey and Austria. Cats are much more popular in Western Europe, while dogs are favored in Asia and South America.
“Some regions, like the Middle East and part of Africa, have an especially long-standing appreciation of cats,” Jared Koerten, a pet industry analyst at Euromonitor, told The Post. “In Latin America it’s the complete opposite. Dogs are part of family life there.”
3. Grumpy Cat Isn’t Really Worth $100 Million
Remember Grumpy Cat? It’s hard to forget just how popular that cat, whose real name is Tardar Sauce, was in 2012 and 2013. In December 2014, a British tabloid claimed Tardar Sauce was worth $100 million to owner Tabatha Bundesen.
In an interview with the Hunffington Post, Bundesen called that “completely inaccurate.” However, she wouldn’t provide the correct figure.
While it’s been four years since Grumpy Cat debuted online, Bundesen created an industry around her famous cat. She sells over 800 products on GumpyCats.com. She’s still posting YouTube videos to promote mobile games and other projects. And this summer, Dynamite and Kaboom! published a Grumpy Cat and Garfield crossover.
4. The ASPCA Estimates That 1.6 Million Cats Are Adopted Each Year
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASCPA) estimates that 3.2 million animals are adopted from shelters each year, with 1.6 million of them cats. However, around 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized, with 860,000 of them cats. This is a decrease from 2.6 million in 2011, showing that more Americans are choosing to adopt their pets instead of buying them at a store.
According to APPA statistics, 31 percent of cat owners got their cats from a shelter or humane society. Twenty-eight percent got their cat through friends or relatives. Only three percent got their cats from breeders, but 34 percent of dogs are obtained as pets from breeders.
On August 7, MLive.com reported that the number of dogs and cats brought to animal shelters in Michigan dropped 22 percent from 2011 to 2016, according to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. It’s part of a national trend, since shelters are making it easier to adopt. Plus more pet owners are using microchips to keep track of their pets.
5. There Are 2 More Cat Holidays Left to Celebrate, World Cat Day & National Cat Day
International Cat Day isn’t the only cat holiday on the calendar. On October 29, there is National Cat Day, which was created by to raise awareness for cat adoption and cat lovers to celebrate their favorite pet. The holiday was born in 2005 and created by Colleen Paige, the founder of National Puppy Day.
There’s also World Cat Day, which is celebrated on February 17. Vogue notes that this holiday is celebrated mostly in Europe. There’s also a World Cat Day celebration in Russia on March 1. Lifegate reports that the European holiday was born in Italy 25 years ago.