Black Cat Day…is today!

Giorno del gatto nero

Black Cat Day is celebrated on 17 November in Italy. The initiative was launched in 2007 by the Italian Association for the Protection of Animals and the Environment (AIDAA) to reduce the number of black cats killed for superstition.

Why the black cat?

Black cats are believed to bring bad luck in many cultures. Across Europe, they have been associated with witchcraft for centuries. In the Middle Ages, black cats were killed on suspicion of being companions of witches. Although the witch hunt ended a long time ago, many people still think that black cats bring bad luck.

According to AIDAA, around 60,000 black cats are killed in Italy every year by superstitious citizens. Some cats are also killed as part of black magic rituals performed by satanic groups, especially on Halloween night. Additionally, black cats are less likely to be adopted from shelters and are the first to be euthanized because no one wants them.

November 17 is Black Cat Day because most black cats are killed around Halloween (between late October and early November) and the number 17 is considered unlucky in Italy. The awareness day features lectures, exhibitions, and other events that aim to fight superstition and protect black cats.

In the rest of the world, the dates change to celebrate the black cat: in Great Britain, for example, it is October 27 and in the USA the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA: first organization for the welfare of animals founded in the world ) declared the International Black Cat Day (Black Cat Appreciation Day) on 17 August. The fear of witches has disappeared however, sadly, some stupid superstitions have remained. Therefore, the black cat is more often abandoned and stays longer in shelters than its light-haired counterparts. The international day established on August 17 by the RSPCA wants to convey an essential message: there is no rational reason not to adopt a black cat.

But bad luck generated another day dedicated to the cat:

The Cat Festival

In Italy, National Cat Day is celebrated on February 17. In 1990 the journalist Claudia Angeletti proposed a referendum among the readers of the magazine “Tuttogatto” to establish a day to dedicate to these animals. Ms. Oriella Del Col proposed the date of February 17 for these reasons:

February is the month of the zodiac sign of Aquarius, known to be a symbol of free and nonconformist spirits. And it is well known that cats do not like to feel oppressed by too many rules;
February, among the popular sayings, was defined as “the month of cats and witches” thus linking cats and magic;
the number 17, in the Italian tradition, brings bad luck as well as the black cat;
the number 17 is considered to bring bad luck because the anagram of the Roman numeral XVII (17) is “VIXI” or “I have lived”, consequently “I am dead”. But this is not the case for cats who, according to legend, can live 7 lives! If the cat is British, even 9!
the number 17 thus becomes “1 life 7 times”.

But is there a world cat day? Well yes!

The International Cat Day

The International Cat Day is held on August 8 every year. This celebration was launched in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) with the aim of caring for and protecting the rights of felines. Many countries have nurtured the idea on their own scale and added a national cat day to this global event. For example, it is scheduled for February 17 in Italy and Poland, February 22 in Japan, March 1 in Russia, and October 29 in the United States. But we celebrate it today, on the day it was officially born 20 years ago.

How was the International Cat Day born?

Let’s start by telling what the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) does, which we mentioned a few lines ago. IFAW was founded in Canada in 1969 by Welsh activist Brian Davies. That same year marked the organization’s first major action: ending the commercial hunt for baby seals on the Canadian coast. Present in more than forty countries, IFAW is a global non-profit organization whose mission is to save, care for and free animals, as well as restore and protect their natural habitats.

Initially, International Cat Day was created by IFAW to encourage feline owners and enthusiasts to celebrate and care for them. On this occasion, organizations for the protection and reception of cats are encouraged to take actions to promote the adoption of cats. Since the advent of the Internet, cat fans have taken advantage of this special day to post videos or photos on social networks.

In fact, on the occasion of the International Day of the Cat, the organizers implement initiatives to inform the general public about the daily benefits of cats, and spread them on the net.

What does having a cat mean?

The cat has been a revered animal since ancient times. The main place that the feline occupies with man has lasted for millennia! Allied to the Egyptians for its ability to hunt mice, birds and snakes, the feline soon became their favorite pet because, despite its wild temperament, it was gentle and quiet. By freeing crops from some parasites, cats symbolized protection and were therefore considered gods.

The cat is a natural relaxant. It is beneficial for our brain and our heart. Several studies have in fact examined the positive impacts, both physical and emotional, that cats have on humans. It has been observed that after just ten minutes of petting a pet, the level of cortisol (a hormone associated with stress) drops significantly. According to some experts, the low frequencies emitted by a cat’s purr act like a medicine by helping to reduce anxiety levels and blood pressure.

Cat Day: action is on!

In addition to emphasizing the advantages of having a cat by your side, the annual event on 8 August is also a special time to encourage their adoption within the many shelters and other associations. In addition to the animal protection structures, which operate on a daily basis, the International Cat Day helps to highlight the phenomenon of animal abandonment and raises public awareness of their cause. We remind you that, in Italy, the abandonment of a pet is a contravention that our legal system provides and punishes in article 727 of the criminal code with arrest for up to one year or with a fine of between 1,000 and 10,000 euros. In other countries of the world too, the penalty is very similar.

International Cat Day reminds us of the importance of neutering. That is to say that a couple of cats can lead to the birth of 20,000 kittens in four years, or a proliferation of small cats that can grow up in precarious conditions, or even die from lack of care and food. On the occasion of the international day, animal protection organizations insist that neutering your cat helps break the cycle of animal abandonment;

In addition, the organization will share information on the protection and welfare of felines. Since International Cat Day takes place in the summer, it can coincide with a heat wave to which animals are particularly sensitive. Websites and blogs can thus offer advice on how to help felines fight the heat, but it also becomes an opportunity to exchange advice and knowledge on cat health, hygiene, food or entertainment.

For those who do not have the chance to have a cat in the house, on International Cat Day, the Internet offers them this happiness by broadcasting a multitude of images and sequences showing their cute little faces and some fun nonsense. August 8 offers cat owners the opportunity to publish their photos on social networks, while Lolcats (videos or animations) have largely invaded the web in recent years.

Zoa Studio and International Cat Day

Here at Zoa Studio we love animals very much in general but, if you go and reread some old articles, you will find that we have often winked at the feline world.

Do you remember the illustrations by Edward Gorey? Or black cat Snowball living with the Simpsons? Moreover, we can add the Disney world, which we have told you about several times, has always had a feeling with cats. And Cat Woman, don’t we want to mention her? What about the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland? Not only did he speak but he had a lot to say. Let us mention again, with regard to talking cats, the black cat of Neil Gaiman in Coraline, able to speak in the other world. In this world, but still talking, there was Sabrina The Teenage Witch and her black cat. You could clearly see that the cat was fake, however the TV series was watched anyway!

Tips of the International Cat Day

Lastly, after re-reading some good articles, we recommend (as per the guidelines of the day) to try the following things with your furry friends (if you don’t have any, today is a good day to adopt one!)

  • Spend quality time with your feline friend, like playing their favorite games or trying out new activities.
  • Get creative and create a new game that will pique his natural curiosity, such as a new cardboard box to explore or hidden delights just waiting to be found.
  • Get comfortable on the sofa and give your cat some attention!
  • Encourage relatives and friends to interact with cats. You can learn how cats communicate with each other or determine if the cat is happy.
  • Donate some time to the nearest cat shelter, helping to protect other felines.

We hope that these tips are appreciated, goodbye and meow to everyone!



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