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Home > Cats > International Rescue Cat Day 2024: What & When Is It?

International Rescue Cat Day 2024: What & When Is It?

cat at an animal shelter

International Rescue Cat Day is celebrated on March 2nd to highlight the homeless cats that need families. Each year, thousands of cats enter animal shelters or remain lonely in the streets without a place to call home. The next time that International Rescue Cat Day rolls around, you can mark it on your calendar and prepare to make a difference.


Animal Shelter Statistics to Know

Each year, there are millions of cats in the United States in need of rescue. As of 2019, the ASPCA reported some troubling statistics regarding animal shelters.1 Here is what you need to know:

  • Around 6.3 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters each year. A little over half of those are cats, approximately 3.2 million. Although this number has declined somewhat since 2011, it is still staggeringly high.
  • 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized annually. Again, cats make up more than half of this statistic, coming in with around 530,000 shelter cats euthanized.
  • About 2.1 million cats are adopted from shelters each year.
  • Out of the stray dogs and cats that enter shelters, 810,000 are returned to their owners. A mere 100,000 of those are cats.

Although the number of surrendered and euthanized cats is steadily decreasing, hundreds of thousands still suffer. International Rescue Cat Day aims to shed light on this issue and put forth an effort to solve it.

cats in animal shelter
Image Credit: Yulia Grigoryeva, Shutterstock


How to Celebrate International Rescue Cat Day

Once you’ve marked International Rescue Cat Day on your calendar, you may be wondering how to celebrate it. To help you brainstorm, we’ve compiled a list of ways to spend the holiday.

1. Adopt a Cat

If you have room in your life for a new furry friend, consider adopting a cat on International Rescue Cat Day. It is the perfect way to get into the spirit of the holiday, as the central purpose of this day is to recognize and fight against the epidemic of homeless cats in the world.

2. Volunteer at Your Local Animal Shelter

Offering your time and services to your local animal shelter is another way to support cats in need of rescue.

3. Reunite a Lost Cat & Its Owner

If a lost cat is in your area, join forces with a local search team to look for the missing cat. If you can return the cat to its owner, you can save the cat and the owner from heartache.

cat getting adopted
Image Credit: Anika Moritz, Shutterstock


Why Should You Adopt or Rescue?

There are many reasons to adopt or rescue cats rather than purchase them from a breeder, and we’ve included some of them below.

1. It’s Cheaper

From a financial standpoint, adopting a cat from a shelter is wise. Adoption fees cost significantly less than the price of a bred and bought kitten. Some rescues include vaccinations and microchips in the adoption fee, which is a spectacular deal when you examine the costs of those services.

2. It Fights Against Animal Overpopulation

Animal shelters are being swarmed with animals, so much so that it is impossible to house them all. Adopting from a shelter opens up more space in the facility for other homeless cats to be taken care of.

3. It Supports Local Organizations

By adopting from your local animal shelter, you are benefiting a non-profit organization. You are also setting an example for your community and encouraging others to visit the animal shelter before they consider purchasing from a breeder.

4. It Saves a Life

When you adopt a cat from an animal shelter, you are giving it a second chance at life. Even more, you may be sparing a cat from being euthanized.

adopt a cat
Image Credit: tonyfortku, Pixabay


Advice for the First Month of Caring for a Rescued Cat

Adopting a new cat is a wonderful time, but it is also a critical time. During the first 30 days of owning a cat, you must help your new roommate adjust to unfamiliar surroundings.

You will want to have a place for your cat set up ahead of time so that it can settle down and find a routine sooner. Ensure you have the basics, such as food and water bowls, a litterbox, a bed, a scratching post, and some toys.

If you have other pets in the house, you must keep them separate from your new cat and introduce them to each other slowly. This process will require patience and time. If animals are introduced improperly, it may lead to aggression and territorialism.

Establish a routine. Cats are creatures of familiarity, and they love to abide by schedules. To help your cat relax in a new home, ensure that food, affection, and playtime are all given regularly.

It may take your cat a while to trust you, especially if a previous owner mistreated it. But with patience and plenty of kindness, your cat will gradually settle into the new home and become an integral part of the family.



International Rescue Cat Day is an important holiday highlighting the global feline homelessness issue. In America alone, millions of cats are surrendered to shelters each year, leaving them without loving families. On March 2nd, celebrate the holiday by making a difference in a homeless cat’s life.

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Featured Image Credit: JW Design, Shutterstock

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