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If Pets Had Thumbs Day 2023: When It Is & How to Celebrate


May 29, 2023
Happy family with two kids and dog holds thumbs up in new home


Happy family with two kids and dog holds thumbs up in new home

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if pets had thumbs? Humans obviously have many different characteristics from pets, and having opposable thumbs allows us to do certain things that animals with no thumbs cannot, such as firmly grasping objects and opening doors. Nowadays, it seems there is a national holiday for just about anything, so why not have If Pets Had Thumbs Day? National If Pets Had Thumbs Day is observed on March 3rd of each year, so how do you celebrate this bizarre and fun holiday?

Join us in learning more about this holiday, how you can celebrate the day, and if you can give it two thumbs up.


What Is National If Pets Had Thumbs Day?

Now that we know when the holiday is celebrated, what is it exactly? You may be sitting around twiddling your thumbs trying to figure out the answer to this question, but luckily, we’re going to figure out together what this unusual national holiday is, but first, let’s talk about what it is.

National If Pets Had Thumbs Day is a fun day to imagine what life would be like if your pet had thumbs. We can think of one right off the bat: your dog or cat could hitchhike their way back home if they got lost. Do you have a visual? Wouldn’t that be something to see?

National If Pets Had Thumbs Day may be a strange holiday, but it’s a day to imagine what all your pets could do if they had that oh-so-important digit. Even though our pets get along just fine without opposable thumbs, it’s still fun to let your imagination run wild.

hand with cat paw
Image Credit: 5 second Studio, Shutterstock

How Is National If Pets Had Thumbs Day Celebrated?

Now, on to the fun part: how do you celebrate this holiday? Turns out, you can celebrate this holiday in numerous ways. Let’s take a look.

  • Draw pictures of your pets with thumbs
  • Go to a zoo and observe monkeys and apes using their own opposable thumbs
  • Teach your pet to give you a high-five
  • Tape your thumbs down to get a firsthand experience of what life would be like without thumbs
  • Imagine all the things you could do with your pets if they had thumbs

The holiday is mostly there for you to use your imagination and, most importantly, appreciate your pets.

Who Started National If Pets Had Thumbs Day?

This unusual holiday was invented by Thomas and Ruth Roy and is technically called, What if Cats and Dogs Had Opposable Thumbs Day. Together, they have invented over 80 quirky holidays they felt deserved to designate a day to. The holiday is meant to have fun with your pets and imagine what life would be like if pets had opposable thumbs. Can you picture your dog opening the fridge? How about your cat using a can opener to open its own cat food—the possibilities are endless and fun to think about, which is the point of the holiday.

bengal cat gives high five paw to owner
Image Credit: Svetlana Rey, Shutterstock

What Animals Have Opposable Thumbs?

Obviously, dogs and cats have no opposable thumbs, but some animals do, even though most animals do not need them to survive. In fact, having opposable thumbs could hinder how some mammals do everyday tasks, as some use their forefeet for walking, climbing, and most essentially, for protection and defending themselves.

Nonetheless, animals that actually have opposable thumbs are as follows:

  • Apes (chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutan)
  • Old World Monkeys
  • New World Monkeys
  • Pandas
  • Lemurs
  • Chameleons
  • Koalas
  • Possums and Opossums

Tips for Keeping Your Pets Safe

Even though most pets do not have opposable thumbs, they seem to get along just fine without them, but we still need to keep our pets safe and take care of them. Keep small objects out of reach from pets, as small objects could become a choking hazard. Always feed a high-quality diet, and ensure you give your pets plenty of physical and mental stimulation. Don’t forget to take your pet for yearly checkups and shower them daily with lots of love.

chow chow dog and her owner in the grass
Image Credit: Roman Zaiets, Shutterstock



Can you imagine your dog helping you do the dishes or your cat making its own trap for catching mice? Those things might be possible if they had opposable thumbs. Even though it’s not a reality, it’s fun to get creative and use your imagination, which is what this bizarre and amusing holiday allows you to do.

Featured Image Credit: Robert Kneschke, Shutterstock

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