National Cat Day in Italy and Poland Date in the current year: February 17, 2024

National Cat Day in Italy and Poland Cats are one of the most popular and cherished pets in many countries, so it is not surprising that in addition to International Cat Day there are multiple national holidays dedicated to cats. For example, National Cat Day in Italy and Poland is celebrated on February 17.

The celebration originated in Italy in 1990, when journalist and cat lover Claudia Angeletti published an open letter to readers in the newspaper Tuttogatto, asking them to choose a date for National Cat Day (La Festa Nazionale del Gatto). The winning suggestion was that of Mrs. Oriella Del Col, who proposed the date of February 22 for a number of reasons:

  • February is the month of the zodiac sign of Aquarius. Astrologists believe that people born under this sign are self-reliant, independent, rebellious, and non-conforming. In other words, they share a lot of traits with cats, who are considered one of the most independent pets. Since cats and Aquarians have so much in common, it makes sense that National Cat Day should be celebrated in February.
  • February is often referred to as “the month of cats and witches” in Italian folklore, linking cats and magic.
  • The number 17 is considered to be ill-fated in Italy, similar to how cats, especially black ones, used to be associated with bad luck.
  • The number 17 written in Roman numerals (XVII) is an anagram of VIXI, which means “I lived” in Latin. For most creatures, the words “I lived” in the past tense essentially mean “I am dead”. However, many cultures have proverbs about cats having multiple lives, so if cats could speak, they would be able to truthfully say “I lived”.
  • The number of lives that cats have varies from culture to culture. Italians believe that cats have seven lives, so the number 17 also stands for “one life seven times”.

National Cat Day has been celebrated in Italy every year since 1990. Its main goals are to highlight the importance of cats in people’s lives, to combat negative stereotypes about cats, and to help homeless cats in finding stable and loving homes. The holiday should not be confused with Black Cat Day, which is celebrated in Italy on November 17.

In Poland, National Cat Day is also celebrated on February 17. It was launched in 2006 by the monthly magazine Kot and Cat Club Lodz. Wojciech Albert Kurkowski, the editor-in-chief of the magazine and a renowned felinologist who initiated the celebration, used National Cat Day to promote a campaign aimed at helping homeless cats and collecting donations for cat shelters.

Sadly, the magazine shut down in 2010, so the animal rights group Viva! and the TVP3 Warszawa television program My Dog and Other Animals became patrons of National Cat Day. The holiday is marked by fundraising campaigns for animal shelters, purebred cat exhibitions, and other events.

Other countries that have a National Cat Day include Japan (February 22) and the United States (October 29). In addition to National Cat Day, Americans also celebrate Hug Your Cat Day on June 4. Finally, International Cat Day that we’ve already mentioned above is celebrated on August 8.

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National Cat Day in Italy, National Cat Day in Poland, cat-related observances, cat-related holidays