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National Meow Like a Pirate Day 2024: When Is & How to Celebrate

Elizabeth Gray

By Elizabeth Gray

black cat in a pirate hat

If you’re always looking for an excuse to throw a party or dress up your cat, you can probably find a unique holiday almost any day of the year. One of the most unusual is National Meow Like a Pirate Day. Every year, National Meow Like a Pirate Day is on September 19.

Keep reading to learn about the origins of this strange holiday, fun ways you can mark the occasion, and the real-life history that inspired National Meow Like a Pirate Day.

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The Origins of National Meow Like a Pirate Day

National Meow Like a Pirate Day is celebrated alongside the human version of the holiday, International Talk Like a Pirate Day. This holiday was created in 1995 as a joke between two friends who were trash-talking each other in “pirate” slang. September 19 was the birthday of the ex-wife of one of the friends.

Talk Like a Pirate Day was recognized primarily among a small circle of friends until a famous humor writer, Dave Barry, wrote a national newspaper article about it in 2002. The strange celebration soon became one of the most popular joke holidays.

We don’t know precisely when National Meow Like a Pirate Day was added to the festivities. Cats are included in the celebrations because of the long history of feline passengers aboard sailing vessels, including pirate ships.

funny cat in a pirate costume
Image Credit: Daykiney, Shutterstock

All Aboard! Cats and (Pirate) Ships

Almost as soon as humans learned to build ships and set sail, cats were welcomed on board, too. The reasons were simple; if mice and rats destroyed all the food on a long ocean voyage, the sailors couldn’t exactly stop at the supermarket to buy more. Rodents also carried diseases that posed a risk to the ship’s crew.

Sailing with a ship’s cat gave pirates and legitimate sailors effective rodent control, keeping food stores and humans safe. Cats also served as comforting companions on long, dangerous voyages. Many breeds of cats originate from felines who arrived in new countries by way of the sea.

Unfortunately, introducing ruthless predators like cats into new ecosystems could also be devastating. The arrival of cats seriously harmed birds and wildlife that previously had no natural predators. Cats are believed to be responsible for the total extinction of several bird species and contributed to the annihilation of other species.

Despite these concerns, even today, cats continue to sail on ships, including warships. National Meow Like a Pirate Day helps recognize the contributions of these cats.

Ways to Celebrate National Meow Like a Pirate Day

The obvious way to celebrate National Meow Like a Pirate Day is to dress your cat up and snap some photos for social media. Coax your kitty into a pirate outfit with tasty treats, and be ready to start snapping pictures. You could also throw a pirate-themed party for humans and cats.

Any pet-related holiday is an excellent excuse to raise awareness for animal-related causes, particularly homeless pets. Consider volunteering to care for cats at your local animal shelter or participate in fundraising. If you can, you could also foster or even adopt a cat to commemorate the holiday.

cat in a pirate costume
Image Credit: Benevolente82, Shutterstock

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National Meow Like a Pirate Day and International Talk Like a Pirate Day are celebrated on September 19th. While you probably won’t find any greeting cards to send for this occasion, we suggested some other ways to celebrate in this article. If you adopt a cat to recognize National Meow Like a Pirate Day, make sure you’re prepared to listen to and financially support those meows for the entire lifespan of your new pet.

Featured Image Credit: IrinaK, Shutterstock

Elizabeth Gray

Authored by

Elizabeth Gray is a lifelong lover of all creatures great and small. She got her first cat at 5 years old and at 14, she started working for her local veterinarian. Elizabeth spent more than 20 years working as a veterinary nurse before stepping away to become a stay-at-home parent to her daughter. Now, she is excited to share her hard-earned knowledge (literally–she has scars) with our readers. Elizabeth lives in Iowa ...Read more

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