Have you tried to herd cats? Or do they herd you? National Cat Herders Day was invented at Wellcat.com by Thomas and Ruth Roy. As impossible as cat herding may be, it sure isn’t impossible to celebrate. Those of us who have indeed tried to herd cats, whether getting our kitties to go to bed or to eat from the correct dinner bowl, we get it. Dogs can be wooed with treats and happy vocal cues. But cats? Unless they all chase the red dot at the same time, there isn’t much we can rely on to get and keep their attention.
This celebratory day is to recognize those who face the frustrations, manage the mouse-catchers, and love those little lions. The idiom, “like herding cats” was a phrase originally popularized by Dave Platt. He used it to talk about the difficulty of controlling a collective of people by trying to lead them in a common direction as a united whole. Trying to elicit a specific behavior from groups of people who are incapable of or weakly organized for being led. Platt was an IT expert and used the phrase to reference his experience while managing senior programmers. This origin makes the idiom surprisingly recent compared to most common sayings.
Observing Cat Herders Day
We could actually try to herd cats, but since the idiom already references the futility of the effort, we might skip that exercise.
Instead, we can celebrate those who metaphorically herd cats every day. Project managers are the source of the phrase. Let’s reach out with a hearty, “thank you” for their ongoing efforts. Teachers, day care professionals, volunteer coordinators, sales managers, and other professionals who manage unwieldy groups of people can all use a handshake and some recognition. For those who are members of these difficult-to-manage groups, we can consider thanking our cat herder for managing us so well and for their tireless attention to keeping us motivated and moving forward, together.
Fame And Cats - Lights, Camera, Catnip
There are plenty of movies, commercials, and even Broadway shows that featured cats. In fact, one of the most famous is the memorable and exquisitely designed Super Bowl commercial, “cat herders.” It made it’s debut during Super Bowl XXXIV and features cowboys herding cats across a wild west landscape. Even at fifteen years old, this commercial manages to continue to hold it’s own in the internet soup of endless cat videos. It has even outlived the very company that created the ad, EDS, a digital management firm that was taken over by Hewlett-Packard in 2008.https://youtu.be/m_MaJDK3VNESo, this December 15th, celebrate Cet Herders Day by sharing your favorite cat-commercial, cat-movie, or internet-sensation cat-video. Even famed Grumpy Cat is welcome. Use #CatHerdersDay and don’t forget to tag us on Facebook and Instagram. December 15th also happens to be National Cupcake Day, so bonus points for those who manage to share a pic or video depicting both cats and cupcakes! #NationalCupcakeDayGood luck!
Michelle is a writer and ghostwriter, specializing in wellness, sustainability, and global social change. She is particularly fond of serving ethical organizations who contribute to a better life for people and animals through humane and environmentally responsible missions. At Vet Organics, Michelle uses her time as a vet tech, her academic studies in animal science and behavior, and nearly a decade working on a ranch teaching animal husbandry to write on a variety of cat and canine health topics. When she isn't writing, Michelle can be found hiking in the mountains of Colorado with her dogs or snuggled up with a good book and her cats.
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