How To Celebrate Your Cat’s Birthday In A Way They’ll Love

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When Zoloft was around, my favorite day of the year was September 10th: his birthday. I loved getting him gifts and preparing special surprises for him. He likely didn’t understand the concept of birthdays, but I’d like to think he enjoyed the special day and extra attention anyway. I also like to think he could tell there was something special about the day.

Zoloft the Siamese cat wearing a bowtie and sitting next to a sign that says "Zoloft is the Birthday Cat."
We had the best birthdays together!

I am now looking forward to continuing the birthday celebrations with my current dudes and today happens to be the day I selected to be Prozac’s birthday. He was a stray so his exact birthday isn’t known, but I still want to celebrate his birthday anyway so I put a date into a random date generator. May 2nd was the day it chose. I see value in taking time to celebrate my cats and spoil them a little more than usual one day per year. It reminds me of how special they are and I honestly enjoy it, too.

If you’re thinking of celebrating your cat’s birthday, I absolutely think you should. I wanted to share a few ideas for things you can do to make the day special even if they don’t know it’s their birthday. After all, the big day is about them!

Get Them A Gift

Regardless of your budget, there’s something you can get your cat that they’ll enjoy. Whether it’s a new toy (like the very economical and universally loved Cat Dancer) or a special treat, getting them something fun to enrich their lives will keep them happy year round. Just make sure whatever you get them, it’s something that benefits them, not just you. In other words, that automatic scooping box isn’t a great birthday present for your cat.

Some ideas for what your cat may actually like:

Make Them A Special Treat

For his birthdays, I always made Zoloft a special treat. One year, I got a piece of tuna. Another year, I got him a chicken breast and baked it for him. If your cat has a favorite type of meat, consider making them a piece of it for their birthday.

If you want to go above and beyond, for one of his most recent birthdays, Zoloft got catnip marinated chicken. I guess it wasn’t true marinading as I only soaked it a short time, but it infused the chicken with the catnip flavor.

It’s not that hard to make: steep some catnip into a tea (not being stingy on the ‘nip… You want strong tea!) for a few minutes and let it cool. If you are using fresh catnip, save some for a garnish. Put the tea and a small chicken breast into an airtight container and let it soak for up to an hour or so in the refrigerator. Make sure you follow good food safety practices so your cat doesn’t get sick as it’s not a good idea to leave the chicken out of the fridge for more than two hours.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, I followed a simple recipe for baking chicken breast in the oven: I set my oven to 400, let it preheat, and cooked it for about 20 minutes. I used a meat thermometer to make sure it reached 165 degrees inside. I then removed it and cut it into small pieces for Zoloft after it had cooled a bit. I garnished it with a sprig of catnip from a plant I had growing.

Try A New Enrichment Activity As A Treat

Even if you don’t have skills in the kitchen, you can still make something fun for your cat as a treat. Consider doing a simple enrichment activity for your cat. Get a box and crumple up some newspaper. Toss some kibble into it to make a homemade puzzle feeder. Take a paper towel tube and cut small holes into it and push in the ends to make a puzzle tube they can bat at.

There are a lot of great things you can try with stuff around your home for your cat or you can get thing something new like a bird feeder that attaches to your window. Either way, giving them a new fun activity will keep them amused and purring away on their special day.

Do Something Fun To Make A Memory

It will also be fun to create a special memory of your cat’s day. Consider making a paw print ornament for the holidays or even just getting a paw print of your cat using a clean touch ink pad. You can get a variety of colors and create a piece of art to remember the day using your kitty’s paw print.

If you go with a photo shoot, focus on using fun props and getting your cat to pose rather than using costumes. Cats tend not to like them and the point is for your cat to enjoy the day. Plus, you can always add something in later. If your wears a collar without issue, you can consider a birthday bow tie (with a breakaway collar for safety) or an over the collar bandana.

Learn Something About Cats

While it may not seem like the most fun thing you can do, learning a thing or two about cat behavior will help improve your relationship with your cat. Plus, you’ll probably have a bit of fun as cats are always fun to read about. Perhaps you take some time to learn about why squirt bottles aren’t a good idea and learn how to train your cats in a more kind way. I have a lot of blogs on topics ranging from making your own litter box to safely stopping a cat fight.

If you want to do some reading (or listen to an audiobook) about cat behavior, I suggest Play With Your Cat by Mikel Delgado and Purr by Zazie Todd as good places to start. Your cat will appreciate the improved relationship and you’ll be less frustrated!

A white patched cat lying on a blanket with a party hat on his head.
Now that’s something to celebrate. Photo by Christina Hernandez.

Ultimately, celebrating your cat’s birthday can be done in a lot of ways. Think about what your cat likes most in the world and carve some time in the day to make sure they get to do it. While it may be fun to buy something for them, it’s ultimately not the most important thing. Cats can be made happy with play, time with their favorite humans, and a full belly.

I hope your cat has a very, very happy birthday and you have just as much fun spoiling them. I had a lot of fun through the years celebrating Zoloft’s birthday and I know Prozac and Poutine are both in for some special birthdays as well!

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Joey Lusvardi

Joey Lusvardi CCBC is an IAABC Certified Cat Behavior Consultant and professional cat trainer based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. He runs a behavior consultation and cat training service, Class Act Cats, where he helps cat parents address a variety of unwanted behaviors. Joey is available for in home sessions locally or virtual sessions wherever you are located!