December 15 is aside to celebrate cat herders everywhere. In today's terminology, cat herding is when someone in the corporate world has to work extremely hard to get everyone in the office to agree on any one thing.
But that's not the thrust of this blog.
Consider for one more minute the phrase "cat herding" and picture getting a group of felines to do the same thing at the exact moment. If you've ever tried this, you will understand how cats in the real world are often more challenging to manage than humans in the business world.
"Herding cats" is one of my favorite idioms. It comes from "a line of dialogue in Monty Python's The Life of Brian (1979.)." It described the amount of patience required to organize large groups of people.
The term "cat herder" is not symbolic in the animal world. Instead, it refers to the nearly futile effort of training more than one cat. More than two cats are considered a "clowder." Since about 45 million homes in the U.S. have cats, we are a nation of "clowders," and our ability to manage them makes most of us "super clowder herders."
Herding cats refers to a futile project. Enter the independent cat. A cat does what he wants - and when he wants. He is not on your schedule and does not want to unite with other felines. He dares you to try to herd him into doing anything.
If you think cat herding is easy, check out this video from YouTube cited below. You will note the repetition required as the human plays a shell game with ten rambunctious kittens. A friend said this video reminds her of what happens when a worker gets behind on an assembly line. The whole thing has the potential of quickly descending into chaos.
Most cats believe in not coming when called. But, according to Landsdowne Animal Hospital, cited below, we can do a few things to lure them into a particular spot or specific behavior.
* Change the bed
I've never seen a cat (or dog, for that matter) who can resist jumping on a bed you are trying to make.
* Sing in the sunshine
Scoot your chair to the window, sit down, close your eyes, and relax. Before you know it, a cat or two will join you, seeking the warmth your lap and the sunlight provide.
* Draw boxes
I've always known that boxes entice cats. But I never knew cats also love imaginary boxes. Landsdowne Animal Hospital suggests using "tape or rulers to create a small box outline on the floor. "That outline will tempt the "clowders" in your house to gather and play - thus becoming an invisible cat herder.
* Throw, but no fetch
If cats own you, you know that tossing an object with a crumpling noise will get your kitties chasing the sound, possibly at the same time. But that's as close as you will get to becoming a "cat healer" because they will never, ever return the item to you.
December 15 is a day for all humans owned by the "clowders" amongst us. It is also a day to express appreciation to people in your life who face daily disorders and impossible tasks, like parents, office workers, fast food employees, and many others.
Quote to remember: "Cats would rule the world if they had longer attention spans." - Arthur D. Hlavaty
Days of the Year
"National Cat Herders Day"
"Owner Struggles to Herd 10 Kittens"
Landsdowne Animal Hospital
"7 Ways to Successfully Herd Cats"