Fame in LA has gone to Lil Bub’s head and art featuring a cat in a human womb will always create a buzz – along with weed for felines
Thousands of cat lovers from all over the world came together on Saturday for the first-ever CatCon event in downtown Los Angeles. For tickets that cost between $25 and $150, attendees scoped the latest in cat gear, and met celebrity felines like Lil’ Bub. We spent the day with the weird and wonderful patrons and vendors of CatCon. Here’s what we learned.
‘You gotta be Kitten Me’: punny cat T-shirts were everywhere
While the most die-hard cat fans attended the event sporting feline ears, the most popular attire was a cat-themed T-shirt. With slogans like “I got 99 problems, but my cat ain’t one”, “Schrodinger’s cat is alive!” and “Show us your kitties!”, the puns had us chucking... and groaning.
Cat furniture is a lot more than scratching posts
In the past, cat furniture has been typically limited to ugly, carpeted cat trees for scratching. But with websites like Hauspanther, “the premier online magazine for design conscious cat people” and a diversity of designers who take their cues from Americana to the modern (meowhaus?), high-end design has arrived. A handful of designers at CatConLA showed their wares. Catastrophic Creations fabricates cool cat complexes as well as indoor bridges for felines . And Florida-based Square Paws , creates custom cat furniture, including chairs that look like lifeguard chairs, a Leaning Tower of Pisa, and cat trees that look like flowers.
William Fred Schultz is the enfant terrible of the cat world
The illustrations of William Fred Schultz featuring a cat in a human womb provoked a non-stop, WTF buzz all day long. A stylist by day, Schultz describes his art as “a cat coming out of a vaginal canal”. Schultz told us he was happy with the number of signed prints he sold, though declined to share how many.
Pusheen is the new Hello Kitty
Pusheen, the happy and chubby gray tabby and star of an animated web comic who also boasts 8.7 million Facebook fans, was a huge draw at CatCon. Throughout the day Pusheen’s booth was teaming with fans, who clamoured to buy plush versions of the feline.
Catnip now unashamedly marketing itself as weed for cats
The strong scented Nepeta cataria (catnip) that sends most cat into a frenzy, is going gourmet. Denver’s Purrvana had seven varieties of “nip”, all grown organically in Colorado, which came in tins that were slightly larger than a hockey puck as well as in joints. Owner Corinna Santini, said “it’s five times the strength of what you get at Petco”. In the good-work-if-you-can-get-it department, she has one cat, Lenny, who tests the product. “He’s f%#ked up all the time,” she said.
Lil’ Bub might be adorable, but he’s hard work
For those who consider themselves the soccer moms of cat owners, the final seminar of the day, “My Cat is a Celebrity...and How I Dealt with That” included a panel hosted by Mike Bridavasky (Lil Bub’s owner), Kady Lone (Pudge’s owner), and Will Braden (Henri’s owner) discussing what it’s like when your feline becomes your meal ticket. Turns out the owning a rockstar cat isn’t all glamour and after-parties.
Lone travels with two carriers and two litter boxes (full size for the hotel and travel size for appearances.) And cats, like rockstars, make most of their money from merchandise and are often found in the laps of others. The star felines also steal some of glory: although Bub’s owner also owns a recording studio, Bub ended up getting a producer credit on a Kelly Deal song, something Bub’s owner has dreamed of.
While Henri was a no-show, famous cats, Lil Bub and Pudge were in the house.
Once named one of The 10 best cats on the internet by The Guardian, the nihilistic french cat Henri Le Chat couldn’t be bothered to attend. His owner said, “He couldn’t care less about any of this.” But, Lil Bub and Pudge drew huge crowds.
Some attendees added to their cat families
There weren’t many actual cats in attendance at CatCon, which might explain why the cats up for adoption at Best Friends LA’s booth attracted so much attention. CatConLA attendees queued up and waited more than 25 minutes to see available felines. By day’s end 34 of the 40 cats were adopted.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2