Arts & Entertainment

Cat Con LA, a purr-fect weekend for feline fans

1955:  A sleeping kitten wearing a miniature crown.  (Photo by Charles Ley/BIPs/Getty Images)
1955: A sleeping kitten wearing a miniature crown. (Photo by Charles Ley/BIPs/Getty Images)
Charles Ley/Getty Images

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. 

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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