Exclusive Look: Inside The 1st Annual CatConLA
By: Sarah Beauchemin
“CatConLA: it’s like Comic-Con . . . but for cat people.” A more accurate slogan hasn’t yet been invented.
This past weekend, The Reef in Los Angeles hosted the 1st Annual CatConLA, a cat lovers’ convention of the highest order. The two-day extravaganza included seminars; meet and greets; almost 100 exhibitors; and nearly 10,000 feline fanatics of all ages.
Surprisingly, CatCon didn’t feature many actual cats, besides the kitty adoption pen and Lil BUB. The goal of the convention wasn’t to goggle at a spectacle of tap-dancing cats (although that would’ve been amazing), but instead to promote the many people and organizations who are doing sustainable, progressive work in the cat community.
For example, most of the exhibitors were independently owned, small businesses that sold original artwork; handmade clothing, accessories, and cat toys; and eco-friendly cat furniture. Service-oriented exhibitors included nonprofit agencies such as FixNation, Adopt and Shop, and Best Friends Animal Society. In other words, CatCon’s mission was not to provide flashy entertainment, but rather to support independent and nonprofit ventures that promote cats’ wellbeing.
While a large majority of the attendees were from California, a good portion traveled hundreds -- if not thousands -- of miles to experience CatCon. The biggest draws, fans said, were the seminars and meet and greets with Ben Huh of Cheezburger; Lil BUB and her owner Mike Bridavsky; actress Mayim Bialik; and authors Francesco Marciuliano (“I Could Pee On This”) and William Braden (“Henri, Le Chat Noir”).
Another fantastic part of CatCon is that everyone could wear their “crazy cat lady / man” badge with pride, something for which we’re very wrongly teased (because we’re awesome, smart, and just plain RIGHT). CatCon visitors annihilated the stereotype of a cat lover as someone who dons a frumpy bathrobe holed up in a studio apartment with 10 cats stinking to high heaven. Today’s cat ladies and gentlemen (oh yeah, there were many delighted dudes there) are sassy and modern, with a little bohemian / rocker flair thrown in.
See for yourself -- check out our exclusive CatConLA video below. And we’ll see you next year!