Italy and other European countries celebrate today, on February 17, National Cat Day. The Day started being promoted back in 1990, when the readers of the Italian magazine "Tuttogatto" were given the opportunity to vote for the best date to dedicate to the feline: February 17 was chosen as the winning date due to the coincidence of multiple factors. According to a popular saying, in fact, February was considered "the month of cats and witches"; moreover, the number 17, much like cats were, is notoriously seen as unlucky in Italian culture. This is due to the anagram of the roman number XVII, "VIXI", meaning "I lived": when in relation to cats, often believed to have seven lives, this superstition assumes an almost ironic (and completely positive!) undertone.
Each year, many cat-lover associations organize events and projects meant to celebrate National Cat Day. Rome and Milan, for example, will host a dedicated festival called La Città dei Gatti, "the City of Cats". Expositions and conferences, starting from today, will last until the very end of March - for a total of 44 days in the name of the beloved pet.
Take a look at Folia Magazine's feline feature, "Caturday Folia", to celebrate National Cat Day in the medieval spirit!
Illumination from the "Luttrell Psalter", ms. Additional 42130, f. 190r, 2nd quarter of the 14th century, British Library, London.