Adopt-Don't-Shop: Happy National Adopt a Cat Month
Updated: Jun 19
Happy National Adopt a Cat Month! June is kitten season, which means shelters are overflowing with cats who need homes. To raise awareness, the American Humane Society named this month National Adopt a Cat Month to encourage people to adopt cats from shelters.
Here at Pedacitos Blog, we are interested in exploring not just the way we interact with other people, but how we interact with the world around us. Cats have been a part of human culture for thousands of years, and they continue to be important members of many households to this day. In honor of this year’s cat adoption month, we want to talk about the significance of these furry felines and their treatment in modern-day culture.
Cats have been around humans for about 8,000 years, likely hanging around farming communities in the Fertile Crescent. Before they became what we know today as domesticated, they likely shared a mutually beneficial relationship with humans as rodent exterminators.
Over centuries, cats played an important role in many ancient societies as companions, vermin control, and even religious symbols. In fact, cats were revered in many cultures as symbols of luck, healing, and rebirth. In Ancient Egypt, cats were sacred and they worshipped a feline-headed goddess named Bastet, or Bast.
But cats have a double-sided reputation. In other cultures, cats were associated with the supernatural and magic, especially black cats. In Europe, rejection of practices considered magic or pagan also meant the persecution of these animals. Today, remnants of these feelings linger and cats are considered omens for bad luck.
Regardless of collective feelings toward cats, they were still used as rodent killers for thousands of years and brought all over the world for this purpose. In fact, it wasn’t uncommon for cats to be released on boats or in cities to hunt and kill pests. However, this practice had severe consequences that we are now experiencing today around the world.
Today, there are roughly 600,000,000 cats in the world and 480,000,000 are strays. Cities like Jerusalem and Istanbul are overrun with ferals, who only continue to reproduce. Brazil’s Island of Cats is overflowing with ferals and unwanted pets who are dumped from the mainland. The reality is, this problem is not unique to one country or culture. It’s happening everywhere.
While shelters, rescues, and trap-and-release programs struggle to maintain control of stray populations, the impact on the environment becomes more evident. According to the American Bird Conservancy, cats are responsible for the extinction of 63 mammalian species and considered to be the biggest human-caused threat to the environment.
Luckily, there are a few things we can do to resolve this issue. Of course, rescuing and adopting these wonderful animals is the ideal solution. However, some cats are incapable of being domesticated. These cases become the responsibility of trap-and-release programs, or TRPs, that trap strays to fix and release them. While this doesn’t solve the issue of environmental impact, it does prevent more ferals from being born and helps control the population.
There are hundreds of resources out there whether you want to adopt, foster, volunteer, or donate to shelters and organizations. We encourage you to reach out to local shelters that are often in dire need of supplies and pet-care essentials. You can also refer to the ASPCA to find shelters in your area and browse adoptable cats!
Stay tuned for Storyteller Alex’s story about her experiences with stray cats during her travels!
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