While felinistas scampered through the aisles of CatConLA on Saturday, Madeline Bernstein was counting kitties. “At last count, 51 kittens have been adopted,” said Bernstein, president of SPCA-LA, which ran the popular Clowder Adoption Lounge. “If it keeps up at this rate, we’ll have to bring in more kittens! Nothing would make us happier,” said Bernstein. “Our staff is very motivated, very jazzed.”
The mood was upbeat and a little giddy as ailurophiles of every stripe gathered at The Reef in downtown Los Angeles for a chance to play, shop and learn about cat products and causes and listen to featured speakers. Many came for personal meet-and-greet sessions with cat celebrities Lil Bub, Nala and Pudge.
Human luminaries were also on hand, notably actress Mariel Hemingway and Catwoman icon and actress Julie Newmar. Some 15,000 people were expected to attend.
Dozens of people lined up to have their eyes made-up using cruelty free make-up products. And more than a few purchased fancy new carriers to take home a kitten or cat, Bernstein said.
Hundreds who didn’t adopt were eager for a glimpse of real kittens hanging out in comfortable adoption lounges, complete with viewing windows for passersby.
By Saturday afternoon, the cats and kittens were in nap mode, and the SPCA-LA staff gave the kitties fifteen-minute breaks between meet and greet sessions.
Cat books, photos, art, clothing, novelties and products were on display.
Hundreds of items for sale included cat furniture, totes, green products, toys, Kush catnip grown in Colorado and an automatic litter box that sifts litter after every use.
But mostly, it was the attendees who made CatConLA fun and fanciful. Many arrived with their cat make-up applied and ears held in place with headbands.
A few wore green cat-eye contacts, modeled here by Tabitha, who drove to Los Angeles from her home in Las Vegas, along with her friend, Crystal.
Most of the real felines looking for homes were kittens, because the SPCA-LA has been dealing with the annual influx during kitten season. But there were a few adult cats in the mix.
Creative costumes and cat ears were the order of the day, featuring ears made from pipe cleaners, fake fur and feathers and decorated with sparkles and rings.
Photo opportunities were endless and attendees lively and enthusiastic. Hopefully another 51 kittens were adopted on Sunday, the second and last day of the conference and symposia dedicated to felines and the people who love them.