Because Cats Have Nine Lives
Cats are having a moment, and there is no shortage of cat decorations and toys ready to plug and play into a party. We had the opportunity for feline festivities as part of a ninth birthday, because, as they say, cats have nine lives. As far as clever party themes go, it’s an arched-back cat stretch. But hey, whether you’re a cat fan for life or for a day, you may consider cat-snatching the paw-ty details we pulled together.
Details with Cat-Appeal
- Invites: I love making invitations but have to say that I did not feel inspired, and I decided to go easy on myself and pick one of the ready-made cat options. I designed and printed simple invites using Canva. In addition to mailing paper invites, I also sent the invite image as a text message to the parents. I love paper invites, but people often comment that they lose them. Sending a text with the invite image keeps it handy and helps busy parents stay organized!
- Yarn Balls: I like to have one “big” homemade decoration for parties, and anything you hang from up above tends to have a big impact. In fact, I have permanent hooks on the ceiling and doorway openings just for this purpose. We hung balls of yarn from the porch ceiling and chandelier. The smaller balls are golf balls and the larger ones are foam balls from Michael’s.
- Headbands: Party hats are fun, but this party needed cat ears! Giving out decorative headgear makes every guest part of the decorations, and it gives everyone a little permission to be playful. A quick search for cat headbands will yield dozens of options.
- Craft: The children in attendance were ages six to ten, the perfect age for a self-directed craft. Mermag has a fun printable that works as a party craft. I set out tape, scissors, and a jar of colored pencils and invited everyone to do the craft as they wanted to. It’s a great activity to help children warm up to a new (strange) space as they get their bearings. In fact, some jumped in immediately upon arrival!
- Quiet Corner: Parties can be loud and overstimulating, so I like to designate a quiet spot for solo time. We shopped the kids’ bookshelf and gathered a few books with cats as protagonists and created a “cats in literature” library.
- Goodie Bags: As cute and tempting as they are, I tend to avoid buying theme-specific paper goods, such as plates/napkins/bags, because you inevitably end up with an unused stash of a little of this and a little of that. Instead, I buy plain colored bags (or often I get brown kraft paper bags) in bulk, and decorate them. A neighbor who is an avid scrapbooker gave me a bunch of cute cat cut-outs, and I added one to each bag.
The main group activities were “cat school” and an alley cat scavenger hunt.
These cats were invited to take a seat in the cat school once everyone arrived. Cat school was a chance to learn about cats and learn to be a cat. At the end, the children graduated, and were invited to a “real” alley cat scavenger hunt in our back alley. Well, the alley was real, the “hunt” for prizes was a bit like fishing in a pond that’s well stocked—but still fishing and still fun. Here’s all you need to replicate the fun.
- School Gear: Children and adults alike love to know that someone was expecting them and set a place for them. In our cat school, we used folded Mexican blankets as our seats. At each place, I set out a mini clipboard with the lesson plan and a cat pen (of course) for note-taking. Each child listened carefully and moved through the lessons with feline agility. They were really into it! Should you ever need a script for cat school, here you go! The cat bowls were a big hit as we learned to drink like cats, and the ribbon wands from Sarah’s Silks to learn to dance like cats. (The parents helped with this part.)
- Teacher Script: Our teacher was a pro and needed no script, but if you’d like to borrow the idea, send an email to request the teacher script.
- Alley Cat Hunt: We planted gift bags high and low around the alley and set the cats loose to find them. Reminding the cats to use their purr-fect cat vision and sense of smell keeps the role-play going. Easter-egg-hunt rules: Remember how many you hid!
My motto when it comes to kids’ parties is: Feed the parents!
This party was no exception, as we hosted around dinner time (4:00 to 7:00 p.m.) and I knew these cats would need some nibbles. We went with a home-made pizza party and prepared some hearty salads. For drinks, we made freshly-squeezed lemonade. For the full details on a summer pizza party plus menu, check out this post.