Cat Herder’s Day

Did you know that today, December 15th, is actually an important kitty holiday? It’s International Cat Herder’s Day! And while Fluffy would probably rather celebrate some other kitty holidays, this is still a topic worth delving into. A White Rock, TX vet discusses—you guessed it—herding cats below.

Original Term

The saying Cat Herders isn’t exactly something that dates back to the dark ages. However, it is worth note that kitties have been charming and exasperating their humans much longer than that. For example, researchers found a very distinct ink kitty pawprint on a medieval manuscript. There’s no clear origination point for the phrase. It may have originated from Monty Python’s The Life Of Brian. Or, it may just be rooted in the fact that cats are notorious for refusing to do what they’re told! 

Official Resource

What does the phrase herding cats actually mean? According to Wikipedia, it’s “An idiom denoting a futile attempt to control or organize a class of entities which are inherently uncontrollable—as in the difficulty of attempting to command individual cats into a group (herd).”


The Wikipedia article also references a brilliant commercial from Electronic Data Systems, which features a cast of cowboys nobly trying to herd kitties. There’s also a behind the scenes video, which is also pretty cute. One team member noted that, “When making a commercial about herding cats, you actually have to herd cats.” 

Proper Definition

Speaking of cat herds, it’s worth mentioning that herd actually is not the proper term for a large (or even small) group of kitties. A group of cats is actually called a clowder. That said, ‘herding a clowder of cats’ sounds even more nonsensical than the original saying! 

How To Herd Cats

How does one herd a cat? Well, the easiest way is probably to use laser pointers. Fluffy can’t resist that little red dot! Boxes are also pretty efficient cat magnets, as are sunbeams, paper bags, and, of course, baskets of clean laundry. Until recently, many kitties were also more or less trained to come running at the sound of a can opener. The modern furball may be more used to a pop-top can, but some of our feline pals still do perk up at that familiar whirring sound. (Ancestral memory, purrhaps?)

Happy Cat Herders’ Day! Please contact us, your White Rock, TX veterinary clinic, for all your kitty’s veterinary care needs.

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