Happy Saint Gertrude’s Day

St. Gertrude with her cat necklace, by MarysPrayers on Etsy

Though my research says that Saint Gertrude is not officially the patron of cats, the assumption has been made because she is associated with rats. She prayed for rats in her priory to leave, and they did. At the time, the townspeople credited her prayers, not her cats, with this miracle, though later generations recognized that cats are their own miracle.

I suppose there’s a shortage of saints, so they have to double and triple up on their patronage. Besides cats, Saint Gertrude also watches over gardeners, travelers, the mentally ill, the sick (especially those with fever), widows, and the poor. Probably most people fall into at least one of those categories, so she’d be a good all-around saint to choose.

You can pray for your own miracle at Saint Gertrude’s church, still standing in Nivelles, Belgium.

Indeed, one of the qualifying miracles of Santa Chiara, known to many as Saint Clare, involves her instructing her cat to fetch her shawl, and the cat did. Like the townspeople and the church leaders, I feel this event could be a miracle. I’ve known cats that fetch, like Dianne’s cat Nevada, but only when they feel like it.

Flame point Siamese kitten holding a green ball in his teeth.

Nevada, Dianne’s flame point Siamese, and his favorite toy that you should throw for him until he’s tired of the game.
Note: Will not be soon.)

Julian of Norwich is also known as a cat patron. Her feast day is May 8, another time to celebrate cats, though I think that’s every day. Every day is a good day to protect them too, so I trust you’ll keep them indoors and not bring lilies in their living space (a good reminder since a lily-associated holiday is approaching).

A good way to honor Saint Gertrude would be to adopt a new cat or two or donate to those who care for them. I understand that prayers are welcome as well. You could use this modern prayer by Dusty Rainbolt:

St. Gertrude of Nivelles, ask you I pray

Safeguard my kitties this and each day.

Defend them from those who might wish them harm.

Keep them at home safe from danger and storm.

Instil in my wisdom to care for them well.

Pray, fill me with strength never to yell.

And Gertrude, the last thing I beseech from thee,

Protect my sofa from claws and my carpets from pee.


Johnny the cat vet
Dr. Johnny Ly, DVM (practice limited to cats), veterinary acupuncturist, detective, Assistant Animal Control Officer, Assistant Justice of the Peace