by Heather Bock
My daughter is OBSESSED with cats. In fact, all three of my kids are. Whenever we’re driving around town, all eyes are peeled for the sight of a feline. When any are spotted, loud squeals fill the car (and my ears) accompanied by, “A cat, a cat, a cat!!!” with the others yelling, “Where?! Where?! Where?!” We own two young cats, Ninja and Marigold, and they are a real distraction to homeschool, let me tell you. The darlings are often to be found cradled in the arms of my children, or stuffing themselves into a box way too small for them:
Therefore, when it was time to pick a theme for her ninth birthday party, it was natural that Little E chose a cat themed party. Armed with Pinterest, my daughter’s imagination, and lots of paper, I dove into planning her party.
I started with Canva online, using it to create what I thought was a cute birthday invitation. The problem with my daughter turning nine is that she now has her own opinions about her parties. She didn’t like it. I tried again on Word, coming up with this (with a lot of it blocked out here), which met with her approval:
The kitty guests were welcomed by a sign hanging on our porch: “Let’s pawty!”
Little E drew some paw prints and messages with chalk up to our front door:
When guests walked in, they were welcomed by this:
Did you look close enough? It was our cat, Ninja himself, who greeted our guests. He decided that is where he wanted to rest until all the guests had arrived. That didn’t last long, though, as he and Marigold were held throughout almost the entire party.
I had decorated with ruffled crepe paper, something I love to make. It takes regular crepe paper and makes it so much prettier! All you have to do is take two different colors of crepe paper, and shove them through your sewing machine so it ruffles it as it goes. I’ve learned from my kids that a party is not a party until I have something hanging from the ceiling.
I put up some cat banners…
…and some other cat themed decorations throughout the house. The only problem with all these decorations is that, as many of them were cat toys (yarn, bells, pom poms, etc.), our kittens loved them and kept wanting to pull them down as we put them up:
I love how you can take regular balloons and put a plastic stick on them, so they look like you spent money on helium.
We thought it was fun to label the bathroom this way:
As guests arrived, we gave them the opportunity to transform themselves into kittens with collars, cat ears, poofy tails, and whiskers drawn on with black eyeliner.
For the tails, I bought long feather boas at Hobby Lobby (I found this idea here), cut each into three sections, and clipped a hair clip to the end of each. This created a huge mess in my house, with pink feathers going everywhere, so I had to use a little bit of packing tape at places I had cut to prevent more feathers from escaping. The hair clip worked ok, but it had to be placed *just* right for it to stay. It was especially hard for those who wore dresses. The girls also had to watch out for Ninja, who apparently really, really, really likes feathered boas. He ran off with one girl’s tail:
The collars were made from grosgrain ribbon. I strung each with a bell and sewed a rectangle of Velcro at each end, so it would be easy to put on and take off, and so the ribbon wouldn’t fray. Word from the wise (learned from a past experience making superhero capes): don’t bother with pre-sticky Velcro. It doesn’t stay stuck long, and good luck sewing a partially sticky Velcro piece without fully gunking up and bending your needle and causing much frustration and pain in the process.
Here are some of the beautiful transformed kitties:
Next, the girls had a “Guess That Famous Cat” worksheet to do while other guests arrived. Whoever had the most cats right won a mini Kit Kat candy bar.
After almost everyone had arrived, we played a meowing contest. I asked girls to give me their best happy meow, angry yowl, purr, hiss, etc. After each round, we voted on the best one, with the winner getting another mini Kit Kat. Turns out we had quite the actresses at our party!
After we tired of the meowing game, we played blind litter box. I had a (new, clean) litter box with large white pom poms and Whoppers and a (yes, also new and clean) litter box scooper. The girls were blindfolded one by one and had to clean out the Whoppers into another box in under 60 seconds. The girls had giggling fun with this one, but all but one quickly abandoned the scooper and simply used her hands.
Our next game was insane. We played Mouse Chase, a game that involved small white balloons drawn on to look like mice with their tails (strings) tied to each girl’s ankle.
The goal was to stomp on each others’ mice and pop them. The last one with a mouse left would be the winner. The problem was that first I let them have free range of the main part of the house. They just ran around screaming, never encountering any other mouse. Don’t worry–I did put our two real cats away for this game.
Then I confined them to the kitchen and dining area. Now, they were able to stomp, but it turns out that I chose some hearty mice–those balloons wouldn’t pop even when stomped on with two feet! Finally, I confined them to the kitchen itself, where people started to be put out, but three smart girls figured out they could stand in the corners with their balloon mice behind them and not get caught. Once I banned that behavior, we were able to narrow it down to one, but wow! I didn’t realize how competitive nine-year-old girls could be! It was an intense pouncing on balloons when I let those who were out join in (since those left in the game were too careful of their mice to do much).
Next, I took them outside to play Tail Tag, which is the regular game of tag except that the one who was “it” had to grab another girl’s tail and put it on, and whoever had no tail was then “it.” Maybe the girls were tired from the excitement inside the house, maybe it was because it was so hot outside, but they didn’t get into this game quite as much. Some of them still had fun…
…until some random loose dogs came and barked at all our kitties! I had to go out of the fence and shoo them away.
At least the girls thought they were funny!
Since it was hot outside, and they had all been running around, our next game was called Thirsty Kitty. The girls had to lie down with a bowl of water on the floor and see who could lap it up the fastest without using her paws.
Now that we were all inside and in the kitchen, it was a good time to have our snacks, drinks, and cake.
The girls, like good kitties, ate their food under the table (which Little E had wanted to bring back from her Upside Down and Backwards Birthday Party). We even encouraged them not to use their paws while eating. My biggest mistake was letting some of the girls have their pink le-meow-nade in their bowls on the floor. That made for a sticky mess!
We did have one sweet girl who preferred to enjoy her food in a regular chair.
Here were our refreshments:
I found the idea for drawing on the cups here, but I changed them a little because my daughter feels she is too old for anything that looks even a little like Hello Kitty (her second birthday party was a Hello Kitty party).
The food mostly consisted of sweets, but of course, the girls didn’t mind that one bit.
We had strawberry mice, marshmallow cats, a fruit cat platter, Oreo cats, goldfish (of course), and black licorice (because it matched). I found the idea for the marshmallow cats (which Little E drew with edible marker) here. That was a sticky process! I came upon the idea to do a fruit cat here, although I changed it a tiny bit. The brown cats are just Oreos with cat faces piped on them–super simple.
I found the idea for the strawberry mice here, but let me warn you. Don’t do as I did and use Smarties because you forgot to buy almond slivers for ears. They melt into the mice. Also, make them the day of the party, as close to the party as possible. Otherwise, they will be sitting in an unappetizing pool of their own juice with chocolate chip eyes also starting to melt, worm-like tails behind them, looking like something out of a Halloween party, and you will later be stuck eating all of them by yourself. Like this:
I let the girls serve themselves on these plates, which were fun to make with fuzzy pipe cleaner whiskers and paper ears taped on the back. I found the idea here, but I wanted pink on black for the ears instead, and as my daughter said, what’s a cat’s face without whiskers?
A party isn’t complete without a cake (or pie or donuts or cupcakes or cinnamon rolls–all I’ve used at birthday parties before), so here’s our cat strawberry cake, decorated with a star icing tip. I used frosted graham crackers that I cut out for the ears, rolled out slightly warmed Starbursts for the pink in the ears and nose, cut Oreos for the eyes, used Oreo frosting for the cheeks, and placed bits of licorice for the whiskers. I found several similar cakes on Pinterest that I imitated, although I wouldn’t say that mine is as good as any that I saw! I was just so glad to have a simple round cake this time after the amazingly difficult rocket cake I made for my son’s birthday party in July.
After cake and presents, parents hadn’t arrived yet, so we had a couple more games to keep the sugared-up girls occupied. First, we played Yarn Ball Toss, where the girls threw the yarn ball to each other, first wrapping it behind them, and then letting the yarn go out as they went. In the end, they were a big tangled mess, and they were supposed to try to untangle themselves, but they became silly kitties, stretching it out too far, some abandoning the game and their string altogether, so we just put it all together in a heap, and now our real kittens play with it.
After that, we played Poor Kitty, a game where one girl is blindfolded in the middle. The rest of the girls walk in a circle around her, and then the middle girl reaches out to touch one of the walking girls. She has to guess whoever it is that she touched only by hearing the one touched say, “Poor kitty” in a disguised voice. The girls figured each other out really well! That is, they did until they started walking tightly around the poor girl in the middle, who began to feel squished. It’s probably a good thing at that point that our time was up, and it was time to go!
As the girls left, each adopted a tiny stuffed kitten to take home.
All in all, I hope Little E and her kitty guests all had a purr-fect time!
Bible Giveaway Winner
I had the privilege to give away one NIV Adventure Bible: Polar Exploration Edition. I drew a name, and the winner is Julie Lavender! Congratulations, Julie! Please contact me with your address, so I can have the Bible sent to you. I hope it will make a great Christmas present for someone! If I don’t hear from you in a week, I will have to draw a different name.