The Catnip Times (TCT) interviewed the founder of CatConLA, Susan Michals, to find out exactly what all of the buzz and hype is surrounding CatConLA – taking place in Los Angeles on June 6-7, 2015. Susan shared all of the details you need to know about who should attend and what you can expect when you go. Unlike other cat conferences that are mostly for the trade, this conference is for the public to enjoy… so get your tickets now at www.CatConLA.com/tickets and get ready for a purrfect weekend of kitty cat fun!
TCT: What is CatCon?
SM: CatConLA is the ultimate cat lover oasis – and not like any other pet related show ever.
The idea behind it was to change the perception of how the cat lover is viewed; when you say you’re into cats, people think ‘crazy cat lady.’ That’s not a bad thing per se – look at Taylor Swift – she’s the ultimate cat lady right now and proud of it. So CatConLA was really borne out of showing the world there’s people, products and pop culture activities out there that in essence, dispel the “Grey Gardens/Eleanor Abernathy” dated persona. Even the look and feel of the event will be unlike anything seen at a convention/expo before.
CatCon is part symposium, part expo, with over 100 vendors selling the latest products for cats and the people who love them. Every single product has been vetted by myself and my team. Plus, we have the top cat-centric speakers from all over the world including Simon Tofield, who created the character Simon’s Cat, which has nearly a billion views on YouTube, and Lil BUB, a celebrity in her own right, who’s really just a down-home cool psychic/space kitten. Then we’ve got Ben Huh, who created the cat meme, and Angie Bailey, the woman behind Texts from Mittens, and the guys behind the Cat Vid Fest.
TCT: Why did you decide this was the year for CatCon?
SM: In 2014, I created Cat Art Show Los Angeles; nearly 5000 people showed up to see works by some of the biggest artists in the world including Shepard Fairey, Gary Baseman and Ray Caesar. I was introduced to a lot groovy people there, (cat fans of course) who were really into chic and hip cat fashion, furnishings and art It took a lot of research and hiring a lot of people to work with me to pull off CatCon in 2015, but it will be the first of many!
“It’s as if cat people have come out of the closet in recent years, and this event proves it. Sort of like Cat Pride, we’re not concerned about what people think about us nor are we inhibited about expressing our love for felines. Cats are magical creatures that deserve their day in the sun and CatConLA is just that.
I’m looking forward to meeting the creative masterminds behind some of the most imaginative things that have ever been done in the name of cats. The people who have let themselves get swept away by their passion for cats and are having fun doing it.” -Joann Biondi, photographer for Lorenzo the Cat
TCT: What are some of the biggest attractions that will be there?
SM: The aforementioned speakers of course, and then we’ve created a nail bar with nearly a dozen manicurists who will be applying cat nail appliques – for free!
We also have an amazing adoption village – well, it’s more of a garden setting, with astro-turf and reclaimed wood. It is called Rachael Ray Nutrish Furever Home, and Best Friends Animal Society will be bringing in cats to be adopted all weekend. Anyone who adopts gets a ‘Kitty Starter Kit Swag Bag’ which will be filled with goodies for the new parent and the new adoptee. Items include gift cards of Purina Purpose cat litter and Nutrish for Cats, gifts from Lil BUB, and then things like a bumblebee costume (for your new kitty, not the human) courtesy of Meowington’s.
Additionally Will Braden (Henri Le Chat Noir) and Scott Stulen (Cat Vid Fest) are scheduled for the equivalent of speed dating for cat videos – attendees will have the opportunity to get advice and tips from this cat ‘dynamic duo’ on how to create the most engaging material.
TCT: How will CatCon be different from other cat/pet conferences (Superzoo, Blogpaws, Global Pet Expo, et al)
SM: I’m under the impression that Blogpaws is for journalists and bloggers only, and Superzoo as well as the Global Pet Expo are for the trade. CatCon is for the people!
TCT: Will there be actual cats at the convention?
SM: Yes – we have Lil BUB, and Pudge, who are both ‘speakers’ at CatConLA – Bub’s participating in two panels, one of which is a celebrity Q&A similar to her previous interviews with people like Whoopi Goldberg and Andrew WK, only live!
TCT: Getting a little purrsonal, what is your background with cats?
SM: I grew up around cats from the age of about 13 on; we even had an apple farm up in Northern
California where we had about 25 cats or so all at the same time, with names like Tom, Dick and Harry. We also had a couple of dogs who were semi-crazy; now I have one cat (Miss Kitty Pretty Girl, or Miss K for short, picture attached) and Olive, my chihuahua terrier. Miss K is the boss of the house though – and being a Maine Coon, she’s bigger than Olive.
TCT: Will there be any contests or prizes that people should know about?
SM: Yes, there will be a lot going on in various vendor booths, and PetSmart Charities is making a pretty huge announcement for a contest and will have a special celebrity guest meet and greet in their booth. Animal Planet is giving away cat ears, plus a multitude of vendors are doing giveaways and raffles throughout both days.
TCT: How did you choose FixNation as one of the charitable partners?
SM: FixNation is doing an amazing job in the area of trap/neuter/release and a major contributor to
feline population control in Los Angeles by spay/neutering over 100 cats per day. I wanted to utilize CatConLA as a vessel to create more awareness; adoption is certainly one factor in population control, but it is organizations like FixNation that really put a big dent into the problem at hand from the get go. They should be heralded and recognized for the amazing work they do.
TCT: CatConLA sounds amazing. I can’t wait to go there and meet all of the catlebrities in purrson! And I’ll definitely need to get a manicure! Mark your calendars for June 6-7, 2015 at The Reef, located at 1933 S. Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. It will run from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Be sure to get your tickets right meow!