The con is on! Cat Con LA, that is. What does it take to bring 15,000 cat lovers together? A slew of strange and stylish products, a few feline celebrities and lots of puns.
Cat Con LA founder Susan Michals launched the two-day event, taking place Saturday and Sunday at The Reef in downtown L.A., partly to debunk the cat lady myth.
"You can and be chic and stylish and have a cat simultaneously," Michals says. For the record, she has a cat named Miss Kitty Pretty Girl. "There's still the stigma... that if you have more than one cat or you're really passionate about cats, you're a crazy cat lady."
The average age of Cat Con LA attendees is 18 - 34 and about 30 percent are men, according to Michals.
The two-day event — part product showcase, part symposium — includes 167 vendors hawking everything from cat-themed clothing and makeup for humans (from Kat Von D, naturally) to cat scratchers and kitty bowties (for the dapper cat).
The strangest item may be the Licki Brush, a tongue-shaped brush that you hold in your mouth while grooming your cat. The product is real. So real it raised $50,000 on Kickstarter.
There's also an educational component. Buzzfeed and Cats of Instagram will lead a discussion about what separates the cute but typical housecat from the feline internet sensation. Another lecture, led by a cat behavioral expert, is titled The Truth Revealed: Yes, You Can Train Your Cat.
Then there's the Furr-ocious Fashion Face Off Contest, which lets humans show off their feline-inspired fashion. Stars of the four-legged variety can participate in a beauty pageant that Michals describes as "Project Runway meets America's Next Top Meowdel." (We warned you about the puns.)
Cat Con LA also includes an escape room designed from the POV of a cat. Get out in 15 min or less and Animal Planet will make a donation to an animal charity. In case you feel inspired to make a new friend, the adoption village will have more than 3,000 cats and kittens you can take home.
Feline celebs Lil Bub and Pudge will also be on hand for meet-and-greets.
Michals says 12,000 people attended last year. This year, she expects to draw 15,000 to 20,000 visitors: "It's a real combo platter of cat lovers and cat fans all coming together in one super-hip and chic location." Furr sure.