Cats are different.
Cats! They’re everywhere these days. There are even special days devoted to them. There’s Caturday, which originally began by people posting LOL (Laughing Out Loud) pictures of cats online on Saturdays. There’s International Cat Day, and then there’s today: National Cat Day. What! You had no idea? Shhh…don’t tell kitty!
Once misunderstood, maligned, even feared and reviled, cats are now celebrated—and taking over. As our best-buddies! Best-selling authors! Internet stars!
At the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City, cats rule. How Cats Took Over the Internet explores this crazy cat obsession currently transfixing a generation of web users. In its amphitheater, people bubble over in laughter watching a looping video series of goofy feline follies, such as Vinyl Cat, featuring a cat DJ spinning a record, er, rather he was spinning on a record; and, my personal favorite, Mission Impurrrsible, featuring a stealthy feline performing a seemingly impossible climb up a tall bookcase, to the tune of Mission Impossible, and performing a circus-worthy tightrope walk across a curtain rod to fetch a toy mouse.
Celebrity cats—here’s looking at you kid
Sure, who doesn’t love a funny cat video—especially when we’re bored at work? Cats can teach how to live in the moment and how to get out of a bad mood. But, could there be more to it than that?
“An image of a cat is…an artifact constructed according to the needs and desires of the humans.…As a result, media of cats reveal as much or more about ourselves than they do about their subjects,” notes the exhibit.
Just ask Henri a French kitty turned video star whose existential mewsings (“The food dish does not know whether it is full or empty. It simply exists, feeling nothing.—I can relate.”) and ennui have earned him over 32,000 Twitter followers. And then there’s Grumpy Cat (aka Tardar Sauce) whose grumblings have led to a stardom all her own—not to mention a Lifetime television movie, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.
But cats on film isn’t necessarily a new phenomenon. In the late 1800s, an early Kinetoscope film by Thomas Edison, The Boxing Cats, featured the stars of Prof. Welton’s Trained Cat Circus, a vaudeville act in which cats rode bicycles, turned somersaults and even walked through fire! Yeeoww!
Cats inking book deals
Cats are also becoming best-selling book authors. What’s up with that (I ask with just a hint of jealousy). There’s The Grumpy Guide to Life: Observations by Grumpy Cat; and, Henri, le Chat Noir: The Existential Musings of an Angst-Filled Cat; and then there’s Lil Bub’s Lil Book: The Extraordinary Life of the Most Amazing Cat on the Planet.
Grumpy and Henri might have something to say ′bout that one, Lil Bub.
If this all gives you an idea, like it does for me to put Mr. Kitty, my cat, to work (he’s a real looker!), just check out How to Make Your Cat an Internet Celebrity:A Guide to Financial Freedom.
Wild thing, you make my heart sing
To many, cats’ appeal has been their inherent wild nature despite their bonding with humans. “House cats have captured humans’ imaginations since their domestication nearly 10,000 years ago in the Middle East. Inspired by cats’ mercurial and liminal nature, myths and fables from around the world depicted them as cunning, mischievous and supernatural creatures. Ancient Egyptians constructed gods in their image.”
Supernatural creatures! Sounds like something reserved for the upcoming day of Halloween. While some may still be superstitious of black cats crossing their path and bringing bad luck, this is a dark myth that deserves no heed!
Celebrating National Cat Day
So, if you’re feeling Cat Happy and want to join in the celebration, here are 10 ways:
- Adopt a cat from your local shelter or cat rescue
- Donate blankets, food and toys to a shelter
- Show your kitty some love with a new toy or treat
- Bake some Crunchy Tuna Cat treats (because nothing says lovin’ like homemade!)
- Give your cat a massage (and get a purry thank you!)
- Give a lonely cat some love and volunteer at your local animal shelter
- Have a photo shoot with your kitty, or a friend’s, and post it on facebook.com/NationalCatDay
- Have a National Cat Day party with fellow cat lovers (and their cats) and watch funny cat videos
- Support the ASPCA with a donation
- Send a letter to your local representative to help ban kill-shelters
The unconditional love of our felines—one of humanity’s oldest and most revered friends, is a treasure. As Charles Dickens said, “What greater gift than the love of a cat.” As a crazy cat lady, myself, I couldn’t agree more.