This coming Friday, November 11, we officially celebrate Veteran’s Day. Hopefully, you are all already aware that Veteran’s Day is the day when we, both as a country and as individuals, recognize and thank the men and women who have served in the military for their duty, sacrifice and service to our country.

Initially, when I was asked to write about Veteran’s Day as it relates to cats, my initial thought was: It doesn’t really. Then I started thinking about the service that these men and women provide and what that means to our country as a whole. Essentially, it is because of them and their service and sacrifice that we are able to lead the types of lives that we do; these men and women ensure that we are able to lead our chosen lifestyles. And that includes the way we treat our animals; not only our cats, but all of our animals.

Compared to many other countries, our pets are pretty well off. Though there are working dogs in our society, and there are still "barn cats," in most cases our dogs and cats have moved into our homes and now share our beds and our lives. Yes, this happens in some other countries as well, but there are many others where it does not to any appreciable extent.

Is there still room for improvement in the lives of animals here on the home front? You bet there is! We have not done enough to curtail the puppy mill industry (and its feline equivalent), and there are still far too many homeless animals and far too many animals that are put to death each year because there are not enough homes for all of them. Still, we are actively working to correct the situations that impact our animals in a negative fashion.

Progress may be slow in a lot of these areas, but we will keep working until we accomplish what we must. We are not a nation that will sit back and allow our animals to suffer.

We worry not only about our own animals but about those in other countries too. Groups such as Amazon Cares, World Vets and many others are reaching out to improve the lives of animals in far away countries.

There are lots of other things that are great about our country too. Things that our veterans have worked for, fought for, and even died for. We’ve focused on animals in this post only because this column is, after all, about cats.

Dr. Lorie Huston

Image: American Cat by Andrew / via Flickr