You’ve probably heard of Comic-con, the San Diego multi-genre entertainment and comic convention that attracts over 130,000 per year. But this past weekend in Los Angeles, cat lovers from around the world took part in the first ever CatCon. The event sought to debunk misconceptions about cat lovers, included TV and internet celebrities, cat related vendors and workshops. 13
The event was organized by writer and television producer Susan Michals as an effort to draw cat lovers into the mainstream. “My goal is the break down the stereotype of the weird cat person,” Michals told the New York Times. “There is a whole world of cat lovers out there. We’re not all a bunch of ‘Grey Gardens’ Miss Havishams.”
Owned cats were not allowed in the convention, but there were appearances by two celebrity cats and other famous human faces. Lil Bub is a famous internet cats that has been viewed on YouTube over 27 million times and Pudge, an exotic shorthair that has over 373,000 likes on Facebook.
There was also an appearance by TV star Mayim Bialick from “The Big Bang Theory”. She was there promoting pet adoptions through her photo contest with PetSmart Charities. “This event is a great opportunity to change the face of the crazy cat lady,” Bialick told the New York Times. It’s still one of those stereotypes that needs to be demolished.”
Bialick’s contest on Instagram and Twitter is seeking to raise awareness about the plight of cats in animal shelters and to encourage people to adopt them. She’s asking users to post pictures of themselves and their adopted shelter cats and use the hashtag #meowOUT. Bialick will be picking five winners to appear in PetSmart Charities promotional materials.
There were a host of cat related vendors including Square Paws that sells a cat house shaped like the Leaning Tower of Pisa for $685. Zoomer Kitty makes a $100 robot cat that purrs when you nuzzle on its plastic ears and Blunderpuss, as English company that makes T-shirts with tattooed cartoon cats dressed as hipster, were also in attendance.
Speakers at the event included Simon Tofield, the creator of the popular “Simon’s Cat” animated videos and Angie Bailey of Catladyland. One of the keynote speakers was Joann Biondi, a Miami photographer that has gained famed by taking pictures of her cat Lorenzo in a variety of costumes.
Biondi talked about what she goes through to keep her cats attention including taping a like gecko to her forehead. She also explained how important it is to be patient and said that she can spend up to 40 hours on just one picture. “The important thing is to try and catch your cat in a moment of dignity,” she said. “This is not a silly circus act.”