Skip to content

Imagine a world where all of those favorite furry companions had thumbs on their paws. Opposable ones. Thumbs that allow them to open their own tins of food, easily steal possessions belonging to their humans and generally make them more trouble than they already are. What kind of world would that be?

What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day aims to give pause to every pet owner and pet lover, with the intention of thinking about how different everyone’s lives would be if Mittens or Fido joined the ranks of the – supposedly superior – species which have opposable thumbs.

History of What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day

This wacky and weird observance day was the brainchild of Ruth and Tom Roy, who are known for creating some fairly off-the-wall holidays – almost a hundred of them, in fact. Of course, this concern about pets having thumbs is one of the key questions of life, so it makes sense that a day should be dedicated to it.

Many people think that what makes humans so special is that we have opposable thumbs. In fact, without them, we wouldn’t be able to do half the things that we do every day without even thinking about it – open things, turn handles, hold bits and bobs. Having thumbs is perhaps one of the key factors that separates us from the others in the animal kingdom, since they can’t really get a grip to the same level that humans can.

Tom Roy says that he came up with the idea for What if Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day after having had cats and dogs in the house for 45 years. One day, Mr. Roy realized that the main dependency pets have on humans is simply for food. So, he thought, how would things turn out if they didn’t need humans to turn that can opener or open that bag of kibble?

How to Celebrate What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day

Whatever is happening on What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day, make sure to make it a day to appreciate those furry friends, no matter what their paws are like. Consider some of these ideas for celebrating this day:

Watch Some Fun Shows About Pets

The idea of giving pets opposable thumbs is one step toward anthropomorphism – which is the act of giving human characteristics to non-humans. And while there probably aren’t too many movies or shows that have given pets opposable thumbs, there are certainly many folks who have imagined what it would be like if pets could do things humans do, like talk.

In celebration of What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day, check out some entertaining movies to help get in the spirit of things, getting started with some of these:

  • The Cat in the Hat (2003). This film adaptation of the beloved book by Dr. Seuss stars Mike Meyers and Dakota Fanning, telling a story of hijinx created by a cat (in a hat, of course) who comes for a visit on a rainy day.
  • Bolt (2008). Miley Cyrus and John Travolta lead the voiceover cast of this animated film that tells the story of a famous dog who believes he has real powers.
  • Air Bud (1997). A circus dog escapes from a cruel owner and becomes the newest player of the basketball team – but surely playing basketball would be much easier for a dog who had thumbs!
  • Puss In Boots (2011). This Italian cat character out of the Shrek movies makes his own film with the help of voices like Antonio Banderas, Salma Hayek and Zach Galifianakis.

Dress Up Those Pets

While it doesn’t seem reasonable to put gloves on a pet’s paws to give them thumbs, in celebration of What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day, why not dress up those pets in silly costumes, just for fun?

Perhaps put a tutu on a small pup to make it seem like she is a ballerina. Or dress up a cat in a pirate suit with a peg-leg. Hats and wigs for pets are another fun way to make them look a little bit more like humans. So head over to that local pet store or shop online for a huge range of costumes for dogs and cats that will have the humans in their lives rolling on the floor with laughter!

Use Your Imagination

Today, in celebration of What If Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day, it’s time to appreciate the skills that each individual pet has – and maybe also the skills that they don’t have!

If a cat had opposable thumbs, would they use them to accomplish dexterous tasks? Would they build fires? Would they start cooking their own food? Would they start using the things that they’d collected around the house to make complex traps to catch mice and rats? Or would they just keep doing much of the same as they do now – sleeping, occasionally making a mess and expecting to be fed on demand whenever they want?

If a pet dog had opposable thumbs, would they abuse their can opener privileges by eating all of their food in one sitting? Or would they keep up the guise of man’s best friend by helping out around the house, doing the dishes and sometimes vacuuming the floors?

Also on ...

View all holidays

World Hearing Day

Discovering the key to lifelong well-being: nurturing and safeguarding your hearing for a vibrant and connected life.

National Cold Cuts Day

Deli counter delights, stacked high between slices, ready for your next sandwich adventure.

Fun Facts About Names Day

Ever wondered about the tales behind monikers? Stories as diverse as the names themselves, revealing family legacies, cultural influences, and more.

View all holidays

We think you may also like...

National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Set up a literal catwalk and treat your furry friends to some safe, comfortable fashion, organize a fun photo shoot or go all out with matching outfits.

National Holistic Pet Day

Consider your pet’s health in a new way on National Holistic Pets Day, a time to consider all aspects of your pet’s health at the same time, not symptom by symptom.

Calendar

Join the community!

Password requirements

  • At least one capital letter
  • At least one lowercase letter
  • At least one number
  • 8 or more characters

Welcome back!

Log in to get personalized recommendations, follow events and topics you love, and never miss a day again!