cat on fish tank tv
A man sits in front of the television set he turned into a fish-tank, while his cat looks on, tempted by the tropical fish swimming behind the screen, circa 1958. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Morris the cat
Morris the cat meeting the press. The latest entrant in the presidential sweepstakes, Morris the 9-Lives cat gets the full treatment from photographers during a press conference at the National Press Club. The only feline candidate in the field. Morris’s campaign is being managed by Eleanor Mondale, daughter of the former Democratic presidential candidate, August 18, 1987. Bettmann / Contributor via GettyImages

If you have checked Instagram or other social media channels today, you have probably noticed even more cat pictures than usual. That’s because today is National Cat Day, a holiday created to help cats in need of a good home and encourage owners to celebrate their furry friends. It should be no surprise that there is also a big push to encourage adoptions from local shelters on this day.

Although cats popularity seems to have skyrocketed in the last few years, they have long been a favorite subject of photographers. While dogs beat you over the head with big expressions and dynamic movements, cats provide an opportunity to capture more subtle moments.

“You visualize the picture before you click the shutter,” says Larry Johnson, a traveling photographer who specializes in cat portraits. “A cat’s very subtle, they are tense in their body, tense in their eyes. It’s when they do that little relaxing—that’s when you need to be ready to take the picture.”

To celebrate this year we’ve dug up some of our favorite historic photographs featuring felines.

cat on fish tank tv
A man sits in front of the television set he turned into a fish-tank, while his cat looks on, tempted by the tropical fish swimming behind the screen, circa 1958. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Long John Baldry playing guitar with cats
British rhythm and blues singer Long John Baldry playing his guitar at home with his pet cats in North London, October 31, 1973. Ian Tyas/Keystone Features/Getty Images
Star Paws tucking into a pickled gherkin
Star Paws tucking into a pickled gherkin, April, 1979. WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images
Two cats sitting in a domestic refrigerator
Two cats sitting in a domestic refrigerator, July 12, 1976. Graham Morris/Evening Standard/Getty Images
Dai Inker with several cats
Dai Inker, a yardman for the Taff Ely Council in Pontypridd, whose responsibilities included looking after 30 or so stray cats who made their home at the Millfield depot, Sept. 28, 1987. Western Mail and Echo/Mirrorpix/Getty Images
cat with balloon
Marje Proops’ cat Bennjie. This four-month-old monster has shattered the peace and tranquility of the Proops household, Feb. 1978. WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images
Cat in a measuring jug
Cat in a measuring jug, March 1989. SSPL/Getty Images
Alice Stacy hugging cat
Alice Stacy, 91, hugs her cat Mischief, as her Afghan dog Good Boy sits beside her at the Columbia Point housing project in Dorchester on Feb. 25, 1988. Columbia Point was to come under new management as Harbor Point, a move most of the 350 residents of the project opposed. Stacy, a resident of the project, was afraid the Harbor Point management would make her give up her pets. Paul R. Benoit/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Jack Jackson pictured with his cat 'Tiddles'
May 1951, British disc jockey Jack Jackson pictured with his cat ‘Tiddles’ in the studio in May 1951. A former band leader he became a DJ, in 1948 and recorded shows for the BBC, until 1977. Popperfoto/Getty Images
cat jumping for ball
At the home of her owner Roma Lund in Holyport Road, Maidenhead, as soon as five month old Bianco sees a ball or is given something to catch, she flies into action. She is one of a family who take a great deal of exercise in the air. Jan. 1977 WATFORD/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images
Sandy Dennis with cats in the kitchen
Actress Sandy Dennis in the kitchen of her home with some of her cats gathered around her, Jan. 1989. Marianne Barcellona/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images
cockatiel on white cats head
Charlie the cockatiel finds Fluffy the cat’s head makes a perfect perch. The pets; owned by Fred and Mary Scholl of Ajax; are inseparable. The bird follows the cat around; and isn’t happy until they nestle together. Michael Stuparyk/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Armando Acosta with cats by the fireplace
Armando Acosta, director of Belgian film production of Romeo & Juliet using cast of 120 cats and actor John Hurt, seen seated cross-legged on cushions at home by fireplace with four of his cats. Ian Cook/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

Related: Cat Photographer Takes Facebook, Seattle Art World By Storm

kitten in a boot
The cat booted in 1989. Philippe PACHE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
house for sale with cat
Claire Glanfield’s parents are selling their house in Market Drayton with the family cat, Figaro. SSPL/Getty Images
Ann Martin kissing cat
Writer of preteen novels, The Baby-Sitters Club series, Ann Martin, playing with her cat Mouse, hiding behind curtain, at home in Greenwich Village. Marianne Barcellona/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images