Happy LYCAHD everyone!. The last February Friday is Leave Your Cat at Home Day (LYCAHD) Here's some excerpts from a press release I had written last year that you might enjoy that explains this wonderful holiday and some tips and resources included for you:

Once a year, working parents enjoy Bring Your Kids To Work Day, in which they can demonstrate to their children how they earn their bread and butter. Likewise, dog owners get to share their affection for their canine companions with Take Your Dog To Work Day. But what about cat owners? How are they to recognize and appreciate the mercurial, uniquely individual creatures they hold dear? According to Grace Jaeger, owner and operator of Cat Watchers in Bloomington, MN, the answer is simple: Leave Your Cat At Home Day.

“LYCAHD is designated to revere cats, and the way they have arranged the world so everyone else goes to work and they get to stay home,” says Jaeger. “Since everyone knows that cats don’t work and because they have humans to do it for them, I thought celebrating them in their favorite place–home–would be appropriate and fun.” The first LYCAHD was commemorated on February 25, 2005, and since then has been annually observed on the last Friday in February.

How cats celebrate days off. What can we, their human owners, do to distinguish this day from all the others? What problems can occur if cats do not have this opportunity? A relaxing day off for an owner might involve sleeping in, taking a luxurious bath, and treating oneself to a favorite meal, but most cats already spend the bulk of their time sleeping, bathing, and eating. The trick to celebrating LYCAHD is to cater to your cat’s indulgences, says Jaeger. “Does your cat have a certain treat that is really special? This is the day for it! Does your cat really love catnip? Shower them with it! Does your cat have a special place to nap? This is the day to plump up those pillows, fluff that laundry, or just open the sock drawer, and leave it they way your cat likes it...above all, this is the day to pamper your cat and let them know that you know who’s the boss.”

As any owner can attest, cats are highly individualistic creatures, each possessed of a unique personality. They can be friendly, demanding, imperious, standoffish, cuddly, or aggressive. The may treat you as an intimate companion, or merely regard you as The One Who Brings Food, a menial role at best–after all, cats come fully equipped to provide their own meals. Indeed, the only thing cat owners can agree on is that cat’s sole universal characteristic is their individualism. They are independent, self-contained machines, genetically programmed to create a territorial space for themselves.

One of the other original concepts behind the creation of LYCAHD is Grace Jaeger’s desire to assuage the behavioral concerns owners may have with their cats. While every cat owners knows that, with a cat in the house, no piece of furniture is sacred, unhappy or unfulfilled cats act out more. Poorly maintained litter boxes or urinary tract infections can lead to waste disposal problems, and a lack of proper stimulation or exercise will often generate restless, “mischievous” behavior. Above all, it is a cat’s mood that shapes its behavior, so it’s important that a pet cat be given plenty of playtime. “Playing and mischief making are very much related,’ says Jaeger. “Playing provides stimulation to keep a cat mentally alert and healthy. The more time a human spends playing with a cat, the less a cat will need to get into mischief.” Still, sometimes the problem is medical, and Animal Behaviorist Faye Lapp advocates that owners “talk with a Cat Behaviorist, veterinarian or shelter person who has knowledge and can help retrain your cat’s unacceptable behaviors.” And of course, owners
should use LYCAHD to show their cats that, despite problems with their behavior, they are still loved and adored.

Though LYCAHD is still in somewhat of a grassroots infancy, celebration of it is growing. Every year Jaeger’s website hosts a photo contest, and each year she receives more and more entries. She has begun offering official LYCAHD merchandise, the proceeds of which are donated to the Home For Life® animal sanctuary. Even if you’re not a cat owner, you can still celebrate. Make a purchase for a friend, or just come over and spend some free time playing with the cat.

Whether you’re a cat owner or not, hiring the services of a professional pet sitter can be a wonderful gift. Even if you have to go to work, and thus leave your cat at home, someone can still be there to provide all of LYCAHD’s requisite pampering. “Your cat gets to stay home in their own bed,” says Jaeger, “and can get lots of personal attention if they choose. And they can continue to be the boss!” And what better treat, then providing your cat a whole new human to be the boss of? Learn more about this holiday at: Leave Your Cat at Home Day - http://www.leaveyourcatathome.com

Great gifts or gift ideas for cats:

Cat Behavior -

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