I Threw My Cat a Cat Mitzvah

My cat Apollo may only be 3 years old, but he's got the personality of a 13-year-old.

In January, I had a dream of recreating my bat mitzvah. Unfortunately for me, that dream quickly became impossible when all gatherings were cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19. Fortunately for me, I have a cat.

cat mitzvah

Apollo may only be 3 years old, HOWEVER, he has the personality of a 13-year-old. He constantly whines, he throws temper tantrums and storms out of the room, he has a roaring appetite… the list goes on. Essentially, he is a brat — and while I know that not all 13-year-olds are necessarily brats, there’s a stereotype for a reason.

cat mitzvah

So, to entertain myself during this lonely time, my boyfriend, my roommate, and I decided to throw my cat Apollo a cat mitzvah on April 25. Here’s the highlight reel.

Getting the Dress

Apollo wanted a dress, and the cat mitzvah gets what the cat mitzvah wants. I got my bat mitzvah dress (pictured below) at a cute little shop called All Dressed Up in Rye Brook, New York. Unfortunately, I could not take Apollo there, so we hit a trendy local boutique called Caroline’s Bag of Childhood Clothes She Plans to Donate to Goodwill.


Pre-Bimah Jitters

Ascending the bimah, the raised platform in synagogues from which services are led, can be very scary. Apollo was quite nervous and hid under the couch for five minutes. We tried to convince him to come out (read: reached under the couch and pull him out), but he said he needed a minute (read: clawed at our hands). Eventually, he was ready.

cat mitzvah

On the bimah

Once up there on the bimah (windowsill) he did his best to chant his Torah portion, Teru-meow. I was happy to help him along, of course, although I did end up doing most of the leg work. I can’t believe I paid a Hebrew tutor for this! 

cat mitzvah

cat mitzvah
Apollo doing the kiddush

The Party

Apollo and I spent months (maybe 30 minutes) with the party planner (my roommate Emily) figuring out what the theme would be for his party. We settled on “Photoshop” and it really paid off! (Thank you to my friend Kat for her photoshop skills!)

cat mitzvah

The Hora

Apollo did not enjoy this ritual dance.

cat mitzvah

The Candle Lighting

Apollo lit a candle for me, his group of friends (the toys below), the plastic bag he likes to play with, and the corner of my bed he scratches at to wake me up in the morning.

cat mitzvah

Photo Booth

We had a silly time! These are photos we’ll cherish forever!

cat mitzvah


Well, Apollo is a Jewish adult in the eyes of the congregation now. And I expect him to act like one — no more clawing at my bed in the morning, and absolutely no swatting!

He isn’t very enthused about writing thank you notes as he has no ability to hold a pen. And he isn’t that thankful for any of his gifts as he has no concept of money.

cat mitzvah
Apollo with his gift

But I, his mother, had a great time, and isn’t that really the goal of any bat/bar/cat mitzvah? Meowzel Tov!

All photos by Emily Head.

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