3rd Annual Cat Con

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The 3rd Annual CatCon was held in August at the Pasadena Convention Center. I must admit, I never knew there was a CatCon, so I missed the first two held in prior years. As someone who grew up always having at least one cat and then, in my latter years, being involved in The Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc.®, working at and exhibiting cats at shows all across the country, I wondered how this could have happened. So this year became my first annual adventure to CatCon, and it was good enough to warrant future adventures to CatCon in 2018 and beyond.

CatCon’s stated mission is “To spread joy and goodness to cats and the people who love them.” After spending a day there, I would have to say, mission accomplished! The venue included three exhibit halls and the auditorium, where the first-ever CatCon Awards were held. The categories of Biggest Newcomer Award, Freshest Loaf, Besties Award, Best Vocalist, and Video of the Year were awarded to, respectively, Sir Thomas Trueheart, Rocky, Jasmine, Phoebe, and Maverick. Kitten Lady Hannah Shaw was presented the Advocate of the Year for her dedication to helping neonatal kittens.

Seminars included “They Put the Special Needs in Special Needs” and “Men and Cats, a Love Story,” featuring actor Gilles Marini, Mike Bridavsky, and Lil BUB. All seemed to keep the fans entertained. Meet and Greets with the likes of Catwoman from the original Batman, Oskar the Blind Cat, Nala and her siblings, Chris Poole of Cole and Marmalade, and even Moshow the Cat Rapper gave fans the chance to get up close and purrsonal with the celebrities.

Two of the exhibit halls had over 140 vendor/exhibitors, who showed off their products in the areas of art, furniture, clothing, accessories and design, for cats and, of course, their people. Row after row were toys, trees, clothing, natural medicinal remedies, photos, paintings, housing options, litter, shelters, carry cases, leashes, and all types of different food and edible cat treats. I must admit, one of my favorite vendors at the show was the Litter-Robot. We will come back to that one and a few others in a minute.

Over 15,000 cat lovers came together over the weekend of feline frenzy, and over 150 cats and kittens were adopted out to their forever homes. This area of CatCon was a very big hit. A 4,000-square-foot adoption lounge was set up at the end of the exhibit hall. The lounge stretched across the exhibit hall and boasted sliding glass doors on two sides and common walls between the rooms that were furnished like bedrooms, living rooms and dining rooms. The kittens and cats in the rooms were introduced to the adoptors in that home-like environment. The four-legged creatures romped on the beds, chairs, and end tables and had plenty of places to play with and attack the human creatures as they entered the rooms. The cats and kittens were provided by the Pasadena Humane Society and the SPCA. The lounge area was sponsored and created by Rachael Ray Nutrish. It was one of the most well attended areas in the exhibit hall and had some of the happiest faces to be found. A job well done and that alone was worth the CatCon adventure.

Now, back to the vendor side of the show—everything for the cat and lots of stuff for the humans, too. Just walking the aisles and looking and talking with the vendors took hours. Some had services to sell, such as insurance, pet-care, and deliveries of food and litter. Others had products for cats or about cats, while others had products for the people who love cats.

Litter-Robot was one of the most interesting products shown. It seems that a couple of engineers who owned cats came up with “the last litter box you will ever buy,” the Litter-Robot Open Air. When fully assembled, it resembles an old-fashioned hooded hair dryer that your mother used to sit under at the kitchen table. When you take the side cover off to look at what makes it work, it looks like a small cement mixer that rotates. The cat enters the through the opening and does his/her business. When the cat enters, the robot shuts off for 7 minutes. Then the robot begins to slowly rotate and the litter rolls around inside, dropping the clumps of #1 or #2 onto a screen that eventually dumps into a carbon-filtered drawer below. This drawer can be opened and dumped at a later time. It’s one of the safest and best operating litter systems I have seen over the years, well made and very functional.

Another product that caught my eye was Nine Lives Twine. It was fiber art—hand-spun yarn and Meowmorials handcrafted from your pet’s hair. You save your pet’s brushings, storing the fur in a bag or box, and then send it to the vendor. You can choose fiber art, a toy, or a hand-spun yarn piece to be made exclusively for you. The vendor even had the foot-powered hand spinner right there at CatCon and was making the yarn as we watched.

Cat trees and cat furniture are available just about anywhere cat products are sold. I found one vendor, Vesper- Cats, that sells “real furniture for cats.” Trees, scratching posts, litter box covers, sleeping rooms and combo-units made with wood laminates, sisal, and smooth panels that would fit right in with your living room or family room. A different part of the group, Catit, makes other creative cat products that allow cats to combine drinking, eating, and grooming with playtime. Different size water fountains, food tubes, food diggers (tubes filled with food the cat has to paw out to eat), scratch pads, and wellness centers that are a catnip relaxation spot, and grooming kits for shorthairs and longhairs.

I just have to mention a vendor that not only caught my eye but also seemed to be always busy with sales and folks just stopping by, using social media to project out. ATA, or Arm The Animals, is a charitable clothing company that creates killer clothing that makes a statement and generates funds for small, struggling animal rescues. The clothing stands out and creates dialog that leads to saving animals. “Speak for the Speechless! Defend the Defenseless! Arm the Animals!” This is one great group of young adults making a real difference in the animal world.

There were another 135 or more vendors in attendance. Absolutely any product, service or effort even remotely cat related can be found at CatCon. And you will just have to attend CatCon 2018 to experience them all! I guarantee you will not leave empty handed or empty hearted.

As the morning became afternoon, the hall became busier and busier with not only cat-loving people but cat people! Cat ears were on display everywhere, along with whiskers, make-up, tattoos, cat eyes, cat stockings, cat outfits, cat tails, cat nails, cat noses, costumes and more. I guess you could call it people watching, although cat people watching may be more accurate. You didn’t have to ask if they loved cats. Just picture ComicCon, but with cats as the theme … it was the purrfect social gathering!

So, if you are a cat person, live with a cat person, or want to be a cat person, and you want to meet and greet other people of like mind and heart, watch for CatCon 2018 and make plans to be there next year. And look for me, the Retired Guy, with some kind of cat shirt on and my laminated Pet Companion Magazine business card clipped to my shirt! I’ll be having a purrfect day in furidise!

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