Over the first weekend in October, hoards of cool cat enthusiasts gathered in Pasadena, California, for CatCon, a spectacle celebrating all things feline. Since its start in 2015, the annual event has welcomed an estimated 78,000 people over the years who often dress in festive cat-related garb and share a strong sense of community.
“CatCon is a curated show in every aspect — every exhibitor, experience, lecture,” CatCon creator Susan Michals said. “If we were going to change the perception of cat people and get away from the Eleanor Abernathy [from The Simpsons] stereotype, it had to start with how the show was presented.”
Billing itself as the “biggest cat-centric, pop culture event in the world,” CatCon has everything from meet-and-greets with cats to workshops and guest speakers. It even boasts an art show, with this year’s CatCon showing UNCAGED: The Unbearable Weight of Genius Cat Art, which featured art that included cats and the actor Nicolas Cage.
But this only scratches the surface. There are giveaways, improv groups, and an on-premises cat adoption, with CatCon being tied to several cat-related charitable efforts. According to the ASPCA, about 85.8 million cats are owned in the United States in about 35% of US households. Which is all to say, clearly America’s love for cats isn’t waning anytime soon.