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Be Kind To Animals Week: Then & Now

If you love cats, sharing makes us purrrr :-)

It’s Be Kind To Animals Week and The Humane Society has a long history with this campaign. For over a hundred years they’ve made it their mandate to help shift how people treat animals. An interesting timeline from cruelty to kindness can be found at bekindexhibit.org

To celebrate the long history of “be kind to animals” I created this artwork from a vintage black and white image.

be kind to animals week-vintage-cats-dogs-humane society

In 1868, George T. Angell founder of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals published Our Dumb Animals, the first magazine advocating awareness against animal cruelty. He said, β€œWe issue of this the first number of our paper 200,000 copies for gratuitous distribution, which we think will enable us to put one copy into almost every family in the State. Hereafter we shall issue on the first Tuesday of each month, an edition sufficiently large, to supply all the members of the Society, all subscribers for the paper, and as large a number for gratuitous distribution, as we think the finances of the Society will warrant.”

The first issue of Our Dumb Animals with their motto ” We speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

animal cruelty-advocacy-our dumb animals-first magazine

These vintage posters may look dated but the message remains the same. Let’s make every week “be kind to the animals week”.

be kind to animals week-vintage ad -humane society be kind to animals week-vintage-ad humane society.bmp

This 1935 vintage poster “the cat they left behind” by Morgan Davis from the ASPCA is as timely as ever. Cats are being abandoned in record numbers from home foreclosures or simply by being dumped for whatever reason. At the heart of every sad story is pain and ignorance. When misfortune or tragedy hits, there is a choice. Cats can be surrendered to a shelter, a foster home found or other alternative.

be kind to animals-vintage poster-Aspca

With the advent of social media there’s no longer a reason cats, dogs or any pet to be viewed as disposable. It’s up to those who know better to teach those who don’t. One tweet or Facebook share might make all the difference in the world to one cat. We’ve come a long way in a hundred years but we can make a quantum leap forward to kindness and compassion in this generation. You can never do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it might be too late.

Kindness begins at home. Children model behavior from their guardians and their peers but it’s not enough to be kind or not cruel. Many cruelties are born of ignorance by not knowing why cats need to be spayed/neutered or any basic knowledge of cat care and behavior. I’m of course preaching to the converted at Cat Wisdom 101. Our readers are unusually savvy and it’s our mandate to continue to enlighten and entertain cat lovers.

Imagine if every reader did one act to spread the word of everyday kindness to animals.


  • Janet@TheCatOnMyHead

    It seems amazing on how long the campaign to be kinder and gentler to our animals has been going on. We think of ourselves as such an intelligent and enlightened species, yet some continue to show such thoughtlessness and contempt for “dumb” (who cannot speak for themselves) animals. We and our mom will continue the crusade to prevent cruelty to animals. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Misty May, Mauricio, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Josette

  • Skeeter and Izzy

    Preach on Layla!!!! It can never be said enough! We take every opportunity we can to try to educate about spay/neuter,basic care and available resources to utilize for help. We CAN make a difference! We can end the problem! Purrs of Joy for being kind to all animals every day !!! Luvs Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang >^..^<

  • Darlene Arden

    Wonderful blog. The MSPCA’s work carries on George Angell’s work, a super heritage. And Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston is one of the finest referral hospitals in the world.

  • CATachresis

    This is such a good post and I love the vintage posters. I have been watching a series of programmes on TV about the RSPCA and the work they do. I cannot understand the mentality of some people and the way they treat animals!! It beggars belief. I don’t know how the inspectors manage to bite their tongues sometimes!! I do despair!

  • da tabbies o trout towne

    St Francis said it best….

    N theese pozters R awesum…we loves number three πŸ™‚ !!

  • Deb Barnes - Zee and Zoey

    Excellent post, Layla. And you certainly know how I feel about the subject – it is imperiative that those of us who can act as the impetus for positve change do so. I feel the act is contagious, and for every tweet or status update that might not have otherwise been shared, because it is being shared, we can make a difference.

  • Fuzzy Tales

    I think it’s poor commentary on our species (i.e. human) that we have to be taught to be kind to other Beings. It’s a terrific campaign, but would that there were no need. Would that people recognized that they, too, are animals and are part of Nature, not separate and/or dominant.

    Anyway, these old posters are neat to see!

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