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Tips For Herding Cats
December 15, 2022

Today, December 15th, is a pretty important day for our feline friends: it’s National Cat Herder’s Day! The official term ‘cat herding’ seems to have appeared back in 1979, in Monty Python’s movie The Life Of Brian. Since then, it’s spread to corporate management materials, late night comics, and, of course, the now-infamous Super Bowl Commercial. But … is it even possible to herd cats? A Bellaire, TX vet lists a few things that may get the job done in this article.

Laser Pointers

If there was one tool every cat herder needs in their arsenal, it’s the laser pointer. Fluffy just can’t help chasing after that little red dot!


Boxes make extremely efficient kitty traps. In fact, Fluffy’s dedication to exploring and conquering empty boxes seems to come straight from the official housecat rulebook! (Note: boxes also ‘trap’ big cats, like lions and tigers.)

Can Openers

Back in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, Fluffy knew to hightail it into the kitchen as soon as she heard the telltale hum of a can opener. Kittens these days are more used to pop-tops, but it’s still worth a shot.


Another thing kitties can’t resist? Baskets of clean laundry, right out of the dryer. Fluffy takes her ‘furring’ duties very seriously!


This one can be tricky, as it will only work with cats that trust you. Hold up a treat for Fluffy, and see if she’ll come to you.


Some things are just always going to be difficult to accomplish around kitties. Packing and/or unpacking suitcases is at the top of that list. However, this can come in handy!


Cats don’t actually run on solar power, but we’re not sure if anyone has told them that yet. A warm sunny spot can be an effective ‘corral’ for any kitty … especially tired, lazy ones. Senior cats, who often spend more time relaxing in warm spots, can make wonderful, calm companions; learn more about the benefits of adopting a senior pet in our article ‘Benefits Of Adopting A Senior Pet.’

Reverse Herding

What if you’re not trying to get a furball to come to you, but to go another way? The laser pointer is, again, a great option. You can also try tossing a toy or ball of paper down a hall. Fluffy will probably chase after it! If all else fails, make a loud noise: bang two pots together, sound an alarm, or even clap your hands.

Our Advice on Tips For Herding Cats in 2024

What is National Cat Herder’s Day, and when is it celebrated?

National Cat Herder’s Day, celebrated on December 15th, is a whimsical holiday that playfully acknowledges the challenges of managing tasks perceived as impossible or herding those who are notoriously unmanageable, much like cats. The term “cat herding” gained popularity from its humorous depiction in Monty Python’s “The Life Of Brian” in 1979 and has since been embraced in various contexts, including corporate management and popular media, to describe the art of coordinating the uncoordinated, showcasing a light-hearted take on overcoming chaotic or unruly challenges.

Can cats be herded, and what are some effective methods?

While humorously considered impossible, herding cats can be achieved through creative strategies that leverage natural feline behaviors. Effective methods include using laser pointers to guide cats to a desired location, enticing them with boxes that they naturally can’t resist exploring, and utilizing the sound of can openers or the allure of warm laundry to attract their attention. Additionally, providing treats or utilizing familiar sounds like a gentle “psst” can encourage cats to move toward a handler. These techniques require patience and understanding of individual cat preferences and trust levels.

How does the trust level between a cat and a human affect the effectiveness of using treats for herding?

The effectiveness of treats for herding cats significantly depends on the trust level between the cat and the human. Cats with a strong bond and trust with their caregivers are more likely to respond positively to the lure of treats, seeing it as a safe and rewarding interaction. In contrast, cats that are wary or distrustful of humans may not be as quickly motivated by treats, regardless of their appeal. Building trust through consistent, gentle interactions is crucial for successfully guiding a cat’s behavior with treats. Regular veterinary care, including wellness checks and vaccinations, plays a crucial role in maintaining your cat’s health and building trust; discover more about our ‘Veterinary Wellness & Pet Vaccinations’ services.

Are cats drawn to sunbeams, and how can this natural behavior be utilized in herding?

Cats are naturally drawn to sunbeams due to their instinctive desire for warmth, which is useful in herding efforts. Placing a desirable object or treat in a sunny spot can effectively guide cats to a specific area, leveraging their instinctual search for comfort and warmth. This method works best in controlled environments where sunlight can be predictably found. Utilizing sunbeams for herding not only taps into a cat’s natural tendencies but also provides a stress-free way to encourage movement or gather cats in one location.

How can making loud noises be an effective herding strategy for cats?

Making loud noises can serve as an effective herding strategy for cats by exploiting their natural sensitivity to sound. When a loud noise is made, it can startle cats, prompting them to move away from the source of the disturbance. This reaction can be strategically used to guide cats in a desired direction. However, it’s essential to use this method sparingly and responsibly, as excessive noise can cause stress or fear. Ideally, this technique is paired with positive reinforcement to ensure cats associate the herding process with safety and comfort rather than fear.

Happy Holidays from all of us here at The Corner Vet, your Bellaire, TX pet hospital. Please contact us anytime!