Cat Herders Day

December 15 is Cat Herders Day. No, it isn’t literally about herding cats, not in the same sense as a shepherd herds sheep. Rather it refers to a seemingly futile or difficult task. The general consensus seems to be that the phrase was at least made popular, if not originated with the IT expert Dave Platt when he said that “managing senior programmers is like herding cats.” But all we really know for sure is that the holiday was invented in the last ten years or so. If you have ever tried to actually herd cats, you will know that it is a very appropriate phrase for an impossible situation.

There are other phrases out there which also express the same idea. My own personal favorite is “like nailing Jell-O to a tree.” An old tried and true saying is “like getting blood from a stone,” and another, “like catching lightning in a bottle.” One I had not hear before, but find amusing is “like playing darts with spaghetti.” I had a friend who was a teacher, who would have said, “like trying to herd preschoolers.”

So those of you who work in difficult situations, I salute you this day. Whether those be customer service, preschool, retail, caring for nursing home residents, high school teacher, or just anyone with an impossible situation or boss or coworkers or family situation, this day is for you. If you know someone in such a job, be sure to tell them today how much you appreciate all they do. And especially this Christmas season, be kind to all the folks dealing with shoppers in stores. Not a job I would want!


Quotes about difficulties

Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant.–Horace 65-68 B.C.E.

The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.–M. Scott Peck

Adversity creates heroes.–Picabo Street

As you go along your own road in life, you will, if you aim high enough, also meet resistance…. But no matter how tough the opposition may seem, have courage still–and persevere.–Madeleine Albright

Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has. Out of pain and problems have come the sweetest songs, and the most gripping stories.–Billy Graham

Don’t be afraid of opposition. Remember, a kite rises against–not with–the wind.–Hamilton Mabie

The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.—Moliere

He that struggles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.-Edmund Burke

The miracle is, in fact, that given the overwhelming odds against women, or blacks, that so many of both have managed to achieve so much sheer excellence in those bailiwicks of white masculine prerogatives like science, politics or the arts.–Linda Nochlin

Opposition is a natural part of life. Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition such as lifting weights, we develop our character muscles by over-coming challenges and adversity.–Stephen R. Covey

To overcome difficulties is to experience the full delight of existence.–Arthur Schopenhauer

When you struggle, that’s when you realize what you’re made of, and that’s when you realize what the people around you can do. You learn who you’d want to take with you to a war, and who you’d only want to take to lunch.–Chamique Holdsclaw

Out of difficulties grow miracles.–Jean de la Bruyere

When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.–Peter Marshall

Find more than 9000 inspirational quotes and a link to the Quote of the Day list, as well as quotation related merchandise, at Also visit us on Facebook at and on Twitter: (@kloberst)

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