National Pet Day 2024: When & What Is It?


Pets have a magical way of making every day a special celebration, so it’s only fair they get at least one day when we show appreciation for them. National Pet Day occurs on April 11 every year, giving pet parents the perfect excuse to pamper their cats, dogs, birds, and other household animals, big or small.

How can you plan and prepare for this once-a-year holiday? You can make it a memorable occasion for you and your favorite feline with this detailed look at National Pet Day 2023.

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When Is National Pet Day?

National Pet Day occurs every year on April 11, and it has since 2006 when Colleen Paige founded the holiday. Alongside National Pet Day, the prolific author and animal activist established National Cat Day, National Dog Day, National Puppy Day, and many more pet-focused celebrations to raise awareness for needy animals.

cat-resting-with-owner-on-sofa-at-home
Image Credit: U__Photo, Shutterstock

What Is National Pet Day?

Cat lovers aren’t the only pet parents who can enjoy the April 11th observance. Although over a quarter of American households include at least one cat, numerous other proud parents care for dogs, lizards, birds, snakes, rats, and countless other creatures.

Since 2006, the holiday’s popularity has expanded its global recognition, and you can now find several countries that celebrate it, including Italy, the UK, Spain, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.

Why Do We Celebrate National Pet Day?

Roughly two-thirds of Americans experience the value of pet ownership. While they’re an ongoing investment, the costs rarely exceed the benefits these pets provide for our emotional, social, and physical health. A few of the many positives of pet ownership include:

  • Decreased loneliness and signs of depression
  • Improved sleep
  • Lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Relief from anxiety, stress, and PTSD
  • Sharper cognitive functioning

More than anything, the human-animal bond provides meaning to pet owners. Cats aren’t pets but rather close family members that provide comfort while supplying purpose and compelling reasons to smile, socialize, and stay active.

Helping others realize these benefits by promoting National Pet Day will improve their lives and those of the animals they adopt. The ASPCA states over 3 million cats enter shelters annually, either from owner surrender or as a stray 1.

Of these, only two-thirds find new homes, while over 500,000 face euthanasia. Although the numbers have fallen steadily in recent decades, ongoing efforts like National Pet Day will be vital in making pet homelessness a thing of the past.

young woman owner with white cat
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

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How Can We Celebrate National Pet Day?

National Pet Day is a time to promote animals needing loving families and appreciate those who have found their forever homes. Pet or no pet, all animal enthusiasts can find ways to celebrate the holiday. Here are a few ways cat lovers can make this National Pet Day memorable.

1. Plan a Special Day at Home

Map out a day of play and togetherness for you and your cat to shower them with extra affection. Start the day with games and toys, and watch your favorite cat-themed movie to close out the night. If your cat is a music lover, arrange a playlist of favorites or treat their ears to the soothing sounds of cat-specific music to help them relax.


2. Shop For Your Pet

Do you need a new collar or a cat tree? National Pet Day is the perfect time to snag an exceptional deal on products your cat will love. With the holiday’s growing popularity, many online and brick-and-mortar retailers offer incredible sales to celebrate; some occur for one day only, and others run to the end of April.


3. Make Homemade Treats or Toys

Arts and crafts fans don’t have to spend a penny to treat their cats to new and exciting items. Take the day to fashion your pet’s favorite DIY toys, like feather wands, puzzle toys, hideaways, and cardboard scratching pads. If you’re more of a baker than a builder, flex your culinary creativity by whipping up some delicious and nutritious cat-only treats.

cat-snuggling-with-owner
Image Credit: cottonbro, Pexels

4. Promote the Day on Social Media

Since it isn’t an official national holiday, many of us work on National Pet Day, putting a damper on any plans for blowout celebrations. Still, even the busiest among us can take a few seconds to make the day meaningful. It doesn’t take anything more than a quick shoutout on social media to promote awareness.

You can get on Facebook, X, Instagram, and any other social media account to share a #NationalPetDay message or pictures of your cat to get everyone in your network thinking about the cause. Local cat shelters may also have events or promotions you can share to raise their profile and help any potential pet owners make the move to adopt.


5. Volunteer at Your Local Cat Shelter

After pampering your cat at home, you can go the extra mile to support all the pets-to-be living at your local shelter. From cage cleaners to front desk greeters, non-profit shelters always have numerous positions to fill.

They may also take donations like homemade treats and toys if you don’t have time to lend. With your help, shelters can better the environment for the cats and improve their chances of finding a loving home.


6. Schedule a Vet Appointment

Although your cat will hardly call visiting the vet a special treat, using National Pet Day as a reminder to consider your pet’s health will ensure they stick around to celebrate for many years.

You can schedule an appointment or restock your cat’s medicines and supplements. Better yet, shop for a high-value pet insurance plan to ensure you and your cat can overcome even the most severe accident or illness.

woman holding her cat in vet clinic
Image Credit: Vladeep, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Our cats bring light and love into our homes, and it’s crucial to acknowledge that value at least one day of the year. National Pet Day on April 11 is a chance to recognize the animal-human bond that enriches the lives of both parties and those around them. Mark your calendars, and plan the perfect celebration to show your cats how much you appreciate their presence.


Featured Image Credit: Yuriy-Seleznev, Shutterstock



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