I have to be honest, last week when I headed to CatConLA I wasn’t sure what to expect. Looking back I don’t think I was prepared for what it would be like to have all things cat in one place, at one time.
Entering the already packed convention floor the sounds of enthusiastic cat lovers reverberated off the concrete walls. I stayed focused amongst the crowd, which was not an easy task considering there was so much to look at, and headed for the first order of the day, the Lil Bub Meet and Greet. I bypassed people in cat ears and tables full of much coveted merchandise for the Lil Bub line up. Here fans patiently waited, in their best cat-themed outfits, to meet their favorite internet cat celebrity.
Waiting in Line to meet Lil Bub and her dad Mike Bridavsky
Most fans were beyond excited to meet Lil Bub and a few even shed real tears of joy. Regardless of what you think Bub is like, nothing prepares you for how unbelievably cute she is in person. I confess it’s almost impossible not to grin from ear to ear in her presence. I asked Mike if a visit to Toronto was in store and he said that they have come close but haven’t made it there yet.
Good Job Bub! Does this mean a visit for Canada?
With my meet and greet over I explored the convention floor, which by end of day Sunday would see well over 10,000 people walk through. A friendly atmosphere permeated the event and whether you came in a group or alone you felt like you were part of one giant cat loving family. No one was an outsider here and if you arrived solo you were guaranteed to leave with at least a few new friends.
Many people were carrying cardboard cut outs of their cats, otherwise known as Flat Cats. The humans behind some of the well known cat Instagram accounts used this as a way to represent their beloved felines at the show, and since the online cat community is large, it was a fun and helpful way to identify who the human was behind the cats. If you didn’t have a Flat Cat you most definitely carried business cards… for your cat.
The crowds of cat lovers gather…
Real men do wear cat print swim shorts.
There were many notable cat themed outfits but one of the most unexpected, was by printmaker and costume designer Martelier of Etsy. I tried to capture as much of the outfit as possible but I am not sure my pictures do it justice.
Up close you can see individual cats made from woodblock prints sewn together, the skirt was seven feet wide (the hat was faux fur).
This was the most labor intensive and intricate outfit at the event that I saw, and deserves a special mention as the attention to detail is just amazing.
You name it vendors were selling it. Everything from art, cat furniture, cat wheels, t-shirts, clothes, underwear, cat toys, cat collars, cat ears for humans, urns for cats, baby clothes, plush toys, books and even the first interactive robot cat – Zoomer Kitty all available for purchase.
Undergarments by MetalCats available in neon green or pink.
One of my favorite surprises was seeing Artist Rick Ordonez, otherwise know as Atlas. He told me he decided last-minute to be in the show and had put together the work you see here in three days. While the freeway cats are long gone in LA, he is now working on some commissioned work nearby so the cats will be back!
It was two days filled with cool merchandise and awesome people and, just when I thought it couldn’t get any better I was lucky enough to catch The Cats of Instagram team and Pudge the Cat posing for pictures.
Team work – Eli and Kady (mom to Pudge)
Of course an event like this would not be complete without stories of cat adoptions and one rescue. A total of 75 cats found their forever homes courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society on site adoptions and, a real life cat rescue by expo attendees happened right near the venue in downtown LA.
So much wonderful happened at CatCon that plans are well underway for next year which I gather will be even bigger, so mark your calendars and let the countdown begin all over.
Stay tuned for more on my post CatCon experience and other cats of Los Angeles and be sure to follow my Instagram and Facebook page for more CatConLA Fun!