Not only is December the month of sparkly lights and Christmas trees, it’s also National Cat Lovers’ Month! Obviously, the privilege of ripping up wrapping paper and demolishing the Christmas tree is one of every cat’s favorite parts of this month, but now it goes even further. Since 2014, by my reckoning, December has been dedicated to our sassy and stylish feline friends. So, naturally, I’ve put together a few ideas to celebrate National Cat Lovers’ Month this year. From making life better for your cat at home, to helping cats in far-flung lands, there are plenty of ways to spread the love around!
1. Educate kids on cat handling and care
Growing up, we almost always had cats. Up to three cats at one point, they were as much a part of the family as I was! This taught me to love and care for animals, and have compassion for them too. Take some time to teach the young’uns in your life about taking care of cats; their likes and dislikes. This is a great way to spread understanding and awareness of cats’ needs. How about talking the kids through being nice to cats? This could be by modeling gentle ways of petting them, how to pick them up, and basic cat body language; tips that may help avoid claw or tooth-based tears in the future! Kids can also learn about cats’ diets. They’re the perfect and inexhaustible resource for playtime too, so show them good ways to get your cats involved and active.
2. Tell someone some awesome cat facts
Most people know (or should know) that cats are just the best. Their knowledge may not go far beyond that, though. This is your chance! Share some fascinating cat facts with them to boost their understanding and appreciation of our feline friends. For instance, the fact that cats more or less domesticated themselves by moving into newly formed towns to feast on the rats hanging round the grain stores. Or that in ancient Egypt, you would most likely receive a death penalty if convicted of killing a cat, even if it was an accident. Or that adult cats don’t normally meow, but have learned to as a means of getting treats/pats/doors open from their humans. Crafty little things!
3. Buy items on an Amazon wishlist
So, an Amazon wishlist is a function often used by charities or shelters that tell you what an organization might be in need of. For animal charities, this is often food or cleaning supplies, but can be bedding, cones of fun (shame), toys, etc. They list a bunch of things, you choose what you want to send and it gets delivered to their doorstep. Magic! This is an awesome way to feel like you’ve contributed something concrete toward the welfare of less fortunate animals, and eased the burden of the workers and volunteers. Here is one example with a range of shelters and hospitals to choose from.
4. Install a cat TV
Not a flat-screen, a Cat-TV. As I’ve mentioned a few times in other blog posts, cats love to watch birds. If you have an indoor cat especially, then setting up a birdbath or bird-feeder somewhere visible from a favorite window will mean you are providing your pet with mental stimulation. Their own personal meow-vie theatre, as it were! A hot tip would be to try to put it somewhere that other wandering cats would find tricky to get to, as you don’t want opportunistic strays to turn the TV into a still life! Some can be installed directly on the window itself, for that up-close-and-personal advantage.
5. Create an herb garden
Give that green thumb a workout and set up a cat herb garden! This can be outside or in some form of adorable indoor set-up. Catnip and valerian are two great options that your cat (and other local kitties) will thank you for. Depending on your cat, these herbs will bliss them out and then relax them totally. A great way to show your cat you love it this Cat Lovers’ Month! What about growing a bunch and then taking some down to your local shelter? Their kitties could certainly use the fun!
6. Get crafty for your kitty
Dedicate an afternoon to making some toys or puzzle feeders for your cat. This will allow you to create something without contributing more plastic waste to the world, as well as give you the sense of satisfaction that comes from doing something yourself. There are heaps of easy and fun toys you can make with very few requirements, like in this list here. For the ambitious amongst you, aim for a full on DIY cat tree! And puzzle feeders like these are just great for all cats, keeping them active and allowing their natural hunting instinct to take flight. Or take pounce? Start off easy and then work your way up to the trickier ones. Once your cat knows it can get food by trying different tactics, it will quickly become a pro at working them out. And it’s fun to watch too!
7. Teach your cat new tricks
This will require you to spend a whole lot of time with your cat, which is just perfect for this month! While we all know the old adage about old dogs and new tricks, the same isn’t true of cats. While it’s easier to start when they’re a kitten, you absolutely can teach your cat a range of tricks. Shake hands, waving, sitting up, fetching. Can you even cope with how adorable that will be!? It will involve food and probably a bit of patience, since cats aren’t the avid people-pleasers that dogs are. But the pay-off is great, strengthening your bond and exercising your cat’s mind as it works out how to obey the commands. Here area few ideas that make the whole process sound super easy!
8. Be free with your pats
Spend the month as your area’s resident cat petter! Offer pets to any kitties you see around the neighborhood, stray or otherwise. Obviously, let the cat be the decider of the level of contact they want, but be open to a cuddle. You can carry hand sanitizer if you’re worried about germs. Remember that all kitties have that same soft purring heart, whether or not they are lucky enough to have a forever home. This way, you may find a new friend to greet you as you walk through the streets! And you may give some comfort to cats who don’t get a whole lot of love otherwise!
9. Feed the stray cats in your community
A fact of life is that all urban areas have stray cats and dogs. Just because you don’t see them daily, doesn’t mean they’re not there. If you happen to know where a colony of strays is, or even individual animals, consider offering them a Christmas feast! Food they don’t have to fight for, or fight over, and food that won’t make them sick. Feed them in their territory, so you’re not teaching them to find food at your place, or luring them into enemy lands. This could give you a chance to notice any lactating or pregnant cats, and possibly get those kittens into care and socialized early. You’ll also be a font of knowledge about who’s who when it comes to your local TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) drive. Everybody deserves a full belly, and Cat Lovers’ Month is a great time to give that gift to some who may not get much to eat otherwise.
10. Donate or volunteer at a local shelter
December can be very busy for shelters, with lots of people adopting for Christmas. It may even be a better idea to help out after this period, when a large number are surrendered, once the animal is deemed to not fit the lifestyle after all. Whenever you volunteer though, you’re directly improving the lives of the shelter animals. Human attention is so positive, and the extra pair of hands helping to keep them clean and fed is brilliant too.
11. Buy products that support cat charities
Wear your heart on your sleeve, or t-shirt, by shopping for cool clothes or accessories that declare your kitty love on them. Level up for purchase by making it from retailers like this one whose profits go toward feeding shelter cats. This way you can show people what’s really important to you, possibly sparking conversations with other cat lovers (it is the month for it!), as well as giving back to cats in need. This retailer has some wicked cool stuff with a similar ethos to above.
All of these ideas are ways to show your love for your cat, and for all cats. Be a Cat Lover in deed as well as in word, taking up the challenge of spreading the word and the love about our nose-booping, butt showcasing, midnight scrambling, furfect and purrfect friends!