Tom enjoys his paper mache snowman for holiday enrichment at LIONSROCK.

Join the big cats of LIONSROCK advent countdown

How about having an animal welfare advent countdown to the 25th with the big cats of LIONSROCK by doing small and big acts for animal welfare during the countdown? 


The Advent countdown is an ever-present part of the festive season each year.

Rooted in a tradition that spans centuries, the modern version of the Advent countdown has been around since the nineteenth century.

How about having an animal welfare advent countdown to the 25th with the big cats of LIONSROCK by doing small and big acts for animal welfare during the countdown?

Day 25 

Happy together

Start the advent countdown by raising awareness of the beauty of animals and make a holiday gift. Create a printed or digital photo album of pets in your family showing your happy moments together.

Day 24 

Counting down - old school way

Spread the cheer with a season's greetings card during the advent countdown. There is still time to help animal welfare organisations who are still doing things the old school way by selling recycled season's greetings cards to raise funds. Shop around on the websites close to you or next time you pass the centre, stop, and buy them from the centre’s charity shop.

Day 23 

Small changes to #EatKinder

Why not replace one traditional meat dish with a vegan or vegetarian meal at your festivities? Also consider making these small changes to sauces and gravies as a run-up to a meatless-focused main meal: Onion gravy rather than meat gravy and a cranberry sauce rather than a meat-based sauce. 

Day 22 

 Do some animal welfare homework

For many animal lovers the festive season is a popular time to introduce a pet to a family, but it is a decision that should be made in an informed and responsible way. Perhaps use this time to calmly do your research and rather make a choice that's right for not only the family but for the pet too. No pet should be an impulsive buy.

Day 21


During the advent countdown, spread the #TeachKinder message and speak with family about animals and animal welfare. Don’t only read factual books about where animals live and what they eat, but also about how animals behave emotionally. Talk about traits we share with animals to teach them about the sentience of animals.

Day 20 

Donations in lieu of gifts 

If you love giving gifts, perhaps speak to an animal lover and enthusiast in your family or friendship circle and ask if you can make a donation in their name to a local animal welfare organisation. This can be in lieu of a holiday gift. If you would like to donate to FOUR PAWS, click here

Day 19 

Steer clear of the "cute"

Do not buy into the ‘cute’ appeal of the holidays by dressing up your pet. Costumes could cause discomfort and there is also a real danger of your pet getting tangled up in the costume. A real treat could rather be a gentle daily walk where both of you feel comfortable and safe.

Day 18 

Volunteer your time 

It is always a good idea to phone animal welfare organisations ahead of the holidays to find out if they require extra hands. You could also ask friends and family who are using the holidays to do a "spring" clean, to donate pre-loved towels and blankets to the organisation that you will be helping.

Day 17 

Pet sit for charity

If you’re looking to raise money to help support your local animal welfare organisation, you can start a pet sitting or dog walking service, with the proceeds earned being donated to an animal welfare organisation that is in need. 

Day 16 

Make a wish list

Time to make a advent countdown wish list where every wish serves as a reminder that we can make the seasonal holidays a celebratory time for animal welfare too. On this list you can put items for yourself and others such as cruelty-free body-care and household products.

Day 15 


#TravelKinder: This is the time that many of us get closer to wildlife, but it also takes committing to a few animal welfare rules to do this ethically. 

For more hints and recommendations to travel ethically see the FOUR PAWS #TravelKind Guide.

Day 14 


 Try to make Day 17 your advent countdown action day by adding a few extra tins of pet food or bags of dry food to your shopping basket and take them to your local animal welfare organisation.

Day 13 

Spread cruelty-free joy

Be sure to buy or make cruelty-free gifts for family and friends this holiday season during the advent countdown. If you have not been able to get to the shops yet, take out your craft tools rather than your purse. Be sure to write out a tag that says the gift is cruelty-free to spread the message of animal welfare.

Day 12 

Make travelling safe 

The holidays are often a time for travelling with your pets. Like with your own health it is always a good idea to check the health of your pet before any long trip to make sure it is fit to travel. Take vaccination certificates with you in case a health emergency should take place. Also make sure pet carriers are large enough and comfortable. 

Day 11 

Get back to nature

The best way to show children that animals have their own unique place in the world is by observing them in their natural habitat, to break the problematic idea that animals exist for the sole purpose of serving humans. Spending time in nature is a great way to help your child develop a deep connection with nature. 

Day 10 

Treat the family

The holidays are a good time to visit a true sanctuary like the FOUR PAWS' LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary to learn more about the over 100 big cats in their care. This is #TravelKind in style – read more about the packages here.  

Day 9 

Join the cause 

While you have some time to spare during the holidays and you want to help big cats, join the #BreakTheViciousCycle movement to stop the exploitation of big cats in South Africa by signing the petition here

Day 8 

Be kind while eating kind

#EatKinder: Seasonal festivities should only bring out the best in all of us. To stick to #EatKinder principles during the festivities also means you need to be friendly to those who are not following vegetarian or vegan guidelines. The way you act as an ambassador for this cruelty-free lifestyle can influence others positively or negatively.

Day 7 

Holiday crowdfunding

People with therapy animals might want a special gift for their animals. It might be something they were unable to purchase themselves during the year. If you or a loved one is looking to help with the needs around such a service pet, you can set up a crowdfunding project during the advent countdown and surprise the owner and animal on the big festive day. 

Day 6 

Golden rules of ethical travel 

Make Day 6 of the advent countdown your #TravelKind day by sticking to and spreading some golden animal welfare rules. When photographing wildlife in the wild, respect their space for your and their safety. Never support businesses charging for photographs or selfies with animals. 

Day 5 

Animal welfare for kids

Use the FOUR PAWS December Activity pack to keep the young ones busy on Day 5 of the advent countdown when the real excitement of the final countdown begins. The activity packs are also a good stocking stuffer if you can print them and drop them into a folder to keep eager animal lovers busy for the rest of the holidays. 

Day 4 

Animal welfare gifts

#TeachKinder: If you want to place a special gift under the tree that spreads awareness about the exploitation as well as the beauty of animals, think about giving a subscription to a film streaming service that shows documentaries about animals.

Day 3 

Mind the fireworks 

With the big days of the holidays nearing there is a real danger that the fireworks season will begin in your neighbourhood. Now is the time to keep your pets indoors with the curtains drawn when others around you are using fireworks. Click here to read more about how you can keep your pet safe during the fireworks season.

Day 2 

Almost there

According to some traditions, gifts are given the night before the big seasonal holiday. Make sure that the ones that you are giving are cruelty-free and if you have to do some late big day shopping, think about rushing along to the thrift shop of an animal rescue shelter rather than an overcrowded mall.

Day 1

The BIG DAY has arrived 

And finally, the advent countdown is done, and the big day is here. It is to be enjoyed with eating kinder, travelling kinder and living kinder – to yourself, to animals and to friends and family. Happy much kinder seasonal holidays!