Ever since I adopted my tabby boys Lugosi and Spider back in March 2000 when they were eight months of age, their mummy started the tradition of throwing them a little birthday party every year.
I didn’t know their exact date of birth, but the adoption shelter told me they were approximately six weeks old at the beginning of September 1999, so I gave them the “fictional” birth date of July 31. And they have so far celebrated 16 birthdays.
In their early years, my boys got loads of presents, especially toys. However, as with humans, children are easy to buy for, but as they grow up and get older we tend to either just send flowers (or pairs of socks for men) rather than coming up with anything exciting. By their third year, Lugosi and Spider must have accumulated about 100 different toys, so what do you get the cat who already has a lot?
Here are six tips for throwing a successful birthday party for your cat(s) and some ideas for presents.
1. Avoid things that scare your cat
Balloons can be fun to some cats but can freak others out. Things like noisy crackers or bangers are an absolute no-no. My boys were okay with balloons, as long the darn things weren’t moving and flying about. Decorating the room with streamers is a good alternative to balloons, and they double as fun “toys” too.
2. Be careful with candles
If you put candles on a “tuna cake” for your cat, make sure you supervise your kitty at all times while the candles are lit. Scorched whiskers and face (or worse) may end up with your cat in casualty or your house burning down, which is not an ideal birthday present. Alternatively, you could use these cat-safe flameless LED candles.
3. Consider the number of treats you give
If your cat is on a special diet for a health condition, too many unhealthy tidbits even just on this special day, no matter how much she likes them, may cause a painful flare-up of symptoms, which is also not an ideal birthday present. Instead you could feed some yummy, healthy raw salmon which most cats adore. If she doesn’t like it raw, fry the salmon in a little olive oil, let it cool down, and serve.
I usually feed my rascals a few birthday treats spread out through the day and a tin of tuna (in brine, not oil). Tuna is a special treat reserved only for birthdays and Christmas, because Spider suffers from megacolon and early kidney failure, and Lugosi has longstanding feline urinary syndrome (FUS), for which both are on special diets.
4. Shop for unusual presents
There are hundreds of different toys out there for your kitty, but you might have run out of ideas or gotten a lot of toys for your cat. So, see if you can get something more unusual. For their third birthday, I got my boys the Cat Spa below. Even though only Spider uses it — and he loves it — it was successful with at least one out of two cats.
Another unusual prezzie is an automatic water fountain. Many cats love drinking water from a running tap, so this might be a good present for your kitty — or she may completely ignore it, like my two did after the novelty wore off a couple of days later.
5. Cheap and simple often works best
Sometimes it’s easier to keep it simple when it comes to presents for your cat. A ball made from aluminum foil, a plastic bag (under supervision), a shoe lace with a human attached to the other end to make it move, or an old box can make the best presents ever. Here’s my 6-year-old girl Ruby having fun with some wrapping paper and a box.
6. Think about your cat, not yourself
Be sensible. Think about what your cat will like and not what you like. For example, if she has a morbid fear of balloons, please don’t get any — or at least remove them as soon as you notice they are causing her distress. Remember, your cat doesn’t know it’s her birthday — we don’t throw the party for her benefit but because we feel that she deserves to have a celebration on that day. It should be fun and safe for you and your cat(s).
Here’s a video of Lugosi and Spider’s 15th birthday last year.
Here’s Ruby’s sixth birthday in May this year, with the boys also present.
Lugosi and Spider are already granddaddies at 16, which is around 80 in human years, whereas their little sister Ruby Akasha is only 6. I hope that each of them will grace me with their wonderful, loving presence until at least their 20th birthday, if not beyond. After all, the oldest cat that ever lived was 38 years old, so there´s hope for my little old gits yet.
Do you throw birthday parties for your cat? Let us hear about it in the comments.
About the Author: Barbarella Buchner — Ailurophile. Geeky Goth Girl. Ex-Musician Singer/Songwriter. Photographer. Web Designer. Fibromyalgia + RA Sufferer. And totally mad. She originally hails from Hannover (Germany), then moved to London, and since 2004 has lived on the tropical island of Lanzarote, together with her tabby twins Lugosi & Spider, and ginger queen Ruby Akasha. Apart from being an avid hobby — and sometimes even paid. — photographer, she works as a freelance web and graphic designer and occasional Catster contributor. She designed and maintains her local cat charity 9 Lives Lanzarote‘s website.