A recent survey by the American Animal Hospital Association found that 86 percent of all pet owners include their pets in holiday celebrations: 97 percent include their pets in Christmas celebrations and 4 percent include them in Hanukkah celebrations. So I wondered, how do Daily Cat readers and their cats celebrate the holidays? A few weeks ago I asked you all to let me know, and your answers are below. It sounds like there will be a lot of happy kitties out there this year!
My two girls are part of the family. Prudence and Jhana spend their holidays in style. The night before Christmas, they sit with me and my friends under the twinkling lights of the tree as we open our “Night before Christmas” gifts. They get the extra attention from the people who aren’t at my home regularly, which is always a special treat.
Their stockings are hung on the bookshelf with care, for Santa Claws to fill them with catnip, furry mice, and other goodies. In the morning, there are stacks of presents for them, ranging from Drinkwell Fountains (two years ago) to a polar fleece cat bed (in the works for this year). They chase wads of wrapping paper and investigate gifts with the rest of the family.
For Christmas dinner, they are served in fine crystal goblets, purchased just for them, and sometimes when they are extra good, it is canned cat food. My cats are a very big part of my life, and while my friends may call me the crazy cat lady, you can count on me to count them in, each and every holiday.
Darlene in Massachusetts
My four-legged kid was “Christian” until she arrived here. She discovered that Hanukkah meant more toys. She’s now multi-denominational. We also celebrate her birthday and Aimee-Come-Day (the anniversary of the day I brought her home). She gets toys for all occasions, really good quality catnip toys, and lots of different balls, since she enjoys playing fetch.
Linda in Nevada
I give gifts to my cats, and I give them treats (cooked turkey gizzard, special cat food, some chopped ham, and things like that). But mostly I provide them with plenty of white tissue paper to play with. They love tissue paper! I crumple it slightly (if it’s gift wrapping, it’s already crumpled), and throw it in the middle of the living room. They race through it to hear it crinkle. I drop toys into it for them to capture. The Abyssinians just love this. Rina, especially, loves to race into the tissue paper and skid three or four feet along the carpet with an armload of tissue. Then she peeks around it and races off to come back at it.
Deb in New York
Sam, my 20 plus year-old cat, simply says “Bah, humbug!”
Susan in Oregon
Our animals (two dogs, three cats–all rescues) are always around us, so I suppose you could say they are always included in our holiday celebrations. Skip, my husband, is Jewish, so we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in our home. On Christmas morning, all the animals get in on the action. Each receives their very own present. We wrap the doggie presents, because Cara (a Labrador Retriever) and Cafall (a Shar Pei-Shepherd mix) love to rip the paper off. Our youngest cat, Bucky, is the most enthusiastic, running through all the wrapping paper as we open presents. Our two older cats usually settle back and roll around with their catnip treats.
Hanukkah is a different story. Even though I’m not Jewish, I deeply appreciate the peacefulness of this holiday. The whole family settles in to watch the candles, and the animals cuddle in with us. This is “the quiet in the middle of the storm” of the holidays, and I think our pets enjoy this time just as much.
Chris in Connecticut
My cats certainly like to decorate the Christmas tree with us. The moment we put it up, at least two cats are curled asleep beneath it. And of course, ornaments are too much fun to ignore (we use caution with those, of course). And the animals have stockings for their gifts. And of course, they are treated to gifts on Christmas day and even allowed the chance to open them themselves, which they do sometimes — particularly the cats if the toy is catnip-based and they can smell it.
Bobbi in Quebec
Simon Teakettle takes part in many of our holidays. He loves Halloween, for example. I tie a long lead to the bookcase in the front hall, and he sits there waiting for the trick or treaters to arrive. If the weather is mild enough, I can leave the front door open with just the storm door closed, so he can see the children as they approach the porch.
Christmas is a big deal for him. He has his own stocking, which I hang, filled, when I decorate the house early in December. He has learned not to touch it. Although it is hung well within his reach, he does rub up against it every so often! Christmas morning, when I take both his and my stocking down, he gets quite a kick out of pulling things out and playing with his new toys. Although he is a cat who carries toys from one room to the other, he usually leaves his Christmas presents on the living room rug, returning to play with them there in a couple of days. He also tends to take a nap on the living room rug during the season, “guarding” his new toys!
Kari in California
My pets all get presents and I make them special food for the actual holiday day. My dogs have holiday collars (the ones that are red and white plush with bells). One of my Siamese cats has a blue and white collar that is really for Hanukkah, but it looks better with his blue eyes and he likes being part of the celebration. I also have Santa hats and reindeer ears for anyone who will wear them (not many volunteers), and each one has a stocking over the fireplace along with the two-legged family members’ stockings.
Clea in Massachusetts
Well, first I get rid of all the tinsel that non-pet-owners put on their gifts! Then I try to coax Musetta out of the closet. She usually makes an appearance toward the end of any holiday gathering, and allows herself to be petted and fussed over. But that’s about it. We do give her a Hanukkah gift, usually a new catnip toy. And we wrap it in aluminum foil that, bunched up into a ball, makes another present in itself!
Marion in New York
We use our guys’ photo on our home PC-generated Christmas card. And of course my husband buys me gifts “from” the dogs and cats, and I do the same for him. Our extended family has done that for years. My sister thinks of my cats as her nieces, and buys them little gifts, etc. We keep the “pet card” companies going all by ourselves.
Amy in Texas
My cat Seren gets lots of toys for Christmas. Her toys are not wrapped, they’re part of the tree decoration on the lower branches and she can “pick” which ones (if any) float her boat. She also helps me wrap other presents and gets the gift bags afterwards to play in/with, until she tires of them — that lasts maybe two or three days. One year, her picture was featured on the holiday cards I sent out.
We have a family tradition of having homemade blueberry muffins for breakfast on Christmas morning. Seren gets her own special treat on a plate that morning, too — some years it is cream cheese, other years it is yogurt.