September 19 has been known as Talk Like a Pirate Day since 1995, but in 2015, cats gained their due respect with the co-celebration of Meow Like a Pirate Day. Since pirates are rarely seen without a cat or two (or ten) to keep rodents at bay on their man-o-war, it’s only fitting to include them in today’s festivities. So, as we bark like an old salt, drink rum from the bottle, and throw manners out the window, don’t forget to share your booty with the ship’s cat.
History of National Meow Like a Pirate Day
Thanks to National Meow Like a Pirate Day, every September 19, felines now have an amazing argh-portunity to set sail and exercise their sea paws. While meowing like a pirate may not make the most sense at first, there is some historical precedent for the relationship.
Cats, long seen as creatures of either good or bad luck, often rode along with pirates on the high seas. The sailors saw them as good luck charms who could keep away bad spirits (and of course, rats). Sure, they may not be the most water-loving choice of pets, but it’s said that many pirates weren’t actually able to swim. So really, cats are just as qualified as any other pirate to adorn a crossbow hat and set sail past the tide.
Cats’ mysterious, independent personalities make them the perfect companion on a pirate ship. When it comes to the piracy profession, captains and their buccaneers didn’t have time to wonder where the ship cat was as they plundered victim clippers. The cat’s independent nature makes them attractive as pets still today.
Another reason pirates and cats make a great match is their predatory natures; they use the element of surprise to attack their enemy. So, it only makes sense to have a day to celebrate both the prowess of cats and the swashbuckling style of pirates all at once.
National Meow Like a Pirate Day timeline
Smudge Rules the Internet
The white cat and screaming lady meme hit of 2019 became an overnight sensation; we all want to see Smudge in his tricorne and gold hoop earrings today.
Scour Ye Mateys
As you post a picture of your cat in his finest bandana, don’t forget to change your Facebook language preference to “English (Pirate)”; first offered in 2008, change the language in Settings and Stow Changes.
- 1650 - 1730
Golden Age of Piracy
Driven by high unemployment rates in the poor urban towns in Europe, piracy thrives during this time; cats enjoy living on the poop deck.
Sailors are first known to bring cats on board to help control their ships’ rodent population.
National Meow Like a Pirate Day FAQs
Why do cats meow?
Kittens meow in order to communicate a need to their mother. As they get older, cats use other vocalizations to communicate with each other and meow to communicate with humans instead.
What is the lifespan of cats?
The lifespan of a domesticated pet cat has risen from 7 years in the 1980s to over 15 years today!
What percent of cats are spayed or neutered?
Amazingly, over 90% of pet cats are spayed or neutered today. This up from a mere 10% in the 1970s. Thanks, Bob Barker!
National Meow Like a Pirate Day Activities
Play Dress Up
On September 19, you get a full pass to dress your cat up like Jack Sparrow and post it to social media for all your friends to see. Get creative with homemade hook hands, eyepatches, peg legs (of course keep your cat’s safety the top priority) and have a quick photo shoot.
Throw a Party
It’s not often you get to throw a party with a theme as unique as today’s celebration. Bring out the grogg and catnip and spend your evening cursing the landlubbers — all in a cat-like tone, of course.
Adopt a Cat
The real treasure of the day is to raise awareness about pet and cat overpopulation. So, while the pirates of lore may not have been as keen on giving a cat a nice, warm, dry home, you certainly can. Search your local shelters to learn more.
5 Tips For Talking Or Meowing Like A Pirate
Know the lingo
Start by learning key pirate phrases; work in phrases like “Avast ye” and “All hand hoy” into your daily conversations.
Stock the treasure chest
Cats may need a little enticing to fully participate (for more than 20 seconds, at least); better have a little catnip in that treasure chest.
Slur your words
Due to the amount of rum consumed on the job, most pirates are not wildly articulate; a few slurs will give you sea-cred (and cover yourself if you didn’t do #1).
Use non-verbal enhancements
Growling, eye-rolling, exaggerated laughing and the like are as important as the words themselves; seriously is “Argh” actually a word?
Talk with your hands
Pair your exaggerated laughing with waving your hands wildly; bonus points if you’re holding a cutlass.
Why We Love National Meow Like a Pirate Day
It’s a beautiful combination
Pirates have been the stuff of legend – and party themes – for centuries. Cats are synonymous with the rise of the internet and social media. Put these two together and you’ve got a day that’s highly meme-worthy and ripe for a good party!
It raises awareness
If Facebook is any indicator, there are a startling number of people who have taken up meowing like a pirate once a year. The holiday’s official Facebook page has almost 150,000 likes which translates into a lot of eyeballs learning about the importance of adopting cats around the world. It may seem ridiculous, but it’s extremely effective.
We get a break from the world
Sometimes, we all need a slathering of silly in our lives. Whether it’s work getting us down or anything else that’s causing stress, there’s a pretty simple remedy. Stand up and meow like a pirate. Go ahead, we dare you to try this without laughing.
National Meow Like a Pirate Day dates