How to throw the purr-fect paw-ty for pets - Albuquerque Journal

How to throw the purr-fect paw-ty for pets

Artwork by Cathryn Cunningham of the Albuquerque Journal

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, over 48 million households in the U.S. own dogs; almost 32 million own cats and over 3.5 million own birds. Pets can be therapeutic, entertaining and treasured members of the family.

Whether you have a furry, feathered, scaled or shelled pet as part of your pack, you can celebrate their many characteristics with a pet party. Here are some ideas.

Dog days of spring

Did you know, courtesy of the American Kennel Club, that, like a human fingerprint, a dog’s nose print is unique? And that research shows that the sound of a human yawn can trigger one from your dog? To honor the fun, quirky and lovable sides of your Fido, Clifford or Beethoven, throw them a bone by hosting a doggone fantastic party. Invite some of their favorite furry friends, from shepherds and retrievers to lapdogs and diggers.

Serve up favorite dog delicacies, such as homemade Peanut Butter Bacon Banana Dog Treats (see for the full recipe) or store-bought Ziwi Good Dog Rewards Air-Dried Beef Dog Treats, rated among The Strategist’s top 10 dog treats of 2022. And don’t forget a bacon-topped layer cake or pup-cakes (see for recipes and more vet-approved dessert ideas).

Provide plenty of activities for pups, such as a ball pit or supersized bucket for bobbing for tennis balls. Use retired shoes to construct the ultimate scavenger hunt. The hound who finds the most hidden paw covers gets a prize!

Cat’s meow of a paw-ty

Cats are some of the most agile, amazing creatures, able to rotate their ears 180 degrees and run up to 30 miles per hour. But it’s not necessarily their dexterity that cat owners appreciate most about their fantastic felines; it’s their cuddly, loving purr-fection. Unlike their canine counterparts, kitties can be rather finicky about who they frolic with. So, unless you know for certain your whiskered one is a fan of a fellow feline, it’s best to keep the guest list limited.

Be sure to have plenty of catnip on tap. Sneak it into such clever morsels as Carrot and Catnip Kitty Cat Treats (see full recipe at or such toys as CiyvoLyeen’s six-pack of plush Sushi Cat Toys with Catnip ($15.99 on Amazon). Create a scratching post palace fitted with plenty of claw-digging surfaces, a catwalk and other obstacles suited to paws and playfulness.

If you want to get fancy, consider constructing an outdoor kittytopia, taking inspiration from — with multilevel cat (literal) trees or a bi-level shelf enclosure. Invite your cat’s human guests to wear their cat pajamas and treat them, in turn, with cake pop “yarn balls” and “hairball cookies” (round-ball cookies covered in coconut).

Birds of a feather party together

Before gathering a flock of feathered friends, it’s important to remember that birds can be picky about with whom they choose to socialize; a wrong pairing can result in more than a loss of a few feathers. With that in mind, should your winged companion have a trusted friend or two, why not allow them the opportunity to spread their wings in celebration?

Almost all exotic birds love fresh fruits and vegetables (just make sure you pick those that are safe — some produce, such as avocado, can be deadly); make a spread of chopped delights for beaks to bury into. As an extra treat, parrots and parrotlets go bonkers for parrot cookies (Oven Fresh Bites has a number of flavor options available on

Set up perches of varying shapes and sizes, with engaging toys, ropes and interactive features. Play a variety of fun songs, as many a bird has been known to “get down with the get down” when hearing a favorite tune. If your flock happens to have clipped wings, delight them with an ultimate outdoor birdbath and fountain.

Mouse warming party

Want to deliver your mouse, rat, hamster, gerbil or guinea pig a squeaky good time? If so, your first order of business should be the acquisition of exercise running wheels. Make sure each hamster has a mini-party hat and all guinea pigs have a seat at the tiny table. Provide an assortment of fresh fruits and vegetables (based on the dietary needs and safety guidelines of your particular rodent).

Set up a rodent fun run where rats and friends can play hide and seek. Place bare paper towel and toilet paper rolls, plastic balls and small, safe toys inside a locked-in perimeter ( has a DIY schematic for rats that’s fairly easy to make). Just remember to keep same species together and maintain a careful eye on all partygoers. Not all tiny furballs will get along and others may get along too much (in which case, see the next party idea!).

New littering!

Is your cat, bird, hamster, horse or hound expecting? Delight family and friends when new litters make their way into the world. Once new mothers have had time to rest and adjust, invite a small group for a quiet viewing of the new arrivals. Prior to the emergence of your pet’s offspring, send out baby shower invitations and don’t forget to “register” on or at your favorite pet store. After all, the new mother will appreciate toys, snacks and grooming essentials for her new brood.

Find your fur-ever companion

Don’t have a pet yet? Consider hosting a pet-adoption party. Partner with a local animal rescue, especially one that has a surplus of adoptees. Print pictures of adoptable pets, write a little bio about each (e.g. This is Barkley, a 5-year-old beagle who loves evening walks and scratches behind his ears) and hang them on a line with clothespins. Provide adoption application sheets on clipboards with any fees and other important details. While guests ponder which pet to offer a permanent or foster home to, serve them animal-themed foods and drinks — puppuccinos (cappuccinos), meow mix (Chex mix), Goldfish crackers (in a real glass fishbowl) and cheesecake triangles (made to look like mice).

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