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Wave a Wand for Cat Day (Bonus: The Cats of WISH-TV)

Photo by Scott Sander (WISH-TV)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A wand can be magic, if you live with a cat.

That’s the essence of a message from the coordinators of today’s International Cat Day.

International Cat Care is using this year’s Cat Day to encourage owners to grab a “wand toy” and play with their cats for at least 5 minutes each day.

The organization says “wand toys” offer the kind of stimulation that house cats need to exercise their bodies and their natural predatory instincts.

The group claims fewer than 30% of all cat owners spend that kind of individual time and effort with each of their animals.

Cat Care says wand play can reduce hunting behaviour, increase mental stimulation, help maintain a healthy bodyweight, reduce destructive behavior, and strengthen the bond between cats and their humans. The organization is asking people to post pictures and tales from their cats using the hashtags #InternationalCatDay and #PurrfectPlay.

International Cat Day appears to date back to 2002, when the International Fund for Animal Welfare started it.

Since then, many groups have embraced the August 8 date as a time to celebrate felines both large and small, both in natural environments and in homes.

The Environment Program of the United Nations tweets that, “There are 40 wild cat species & many of them are threatened.” The message goes on to promote the Global Biodiversity Framework.

The European Union is using the day to encourage people to sign up for the EU’s Pet Passport program. In a tweet, the EU Commission says, “That’s right, you can travel easily with your cat, dog or ferret in the EU thanks to our passports for pets.”

Members of our Daybreak team shared pictures of their pets on today’s broadcast, in honor of International Cat Day. Please enjoy snapshots of Cheese, Blue, Simba, Vinny, Pauly, Chessie, Gus, Suki, and more.