CatConLA was a two-day event, put together to celebrate cats and cat culture. Vendors sold everything from cat trees to cat underwear; Animal Planet handed out hundreds upon hundreds of bright green cat ears; celebs from the cat world, including Ben Huh (CEO of Cheezburger) and Lil BUB and her dude, Mike Bridavsky, gave presentations. There were meet and greets for speakers that included Mayim Bialik and Simon’s Cat creator Simon Tolfield. Best Friends set up a cat adoption area that was so popular, you had to wait in a long line just to look at the cats and kittens searching for homes. Instagram exploded with #CatConLA posts. For a passionate cat person like me, the resounding success of this event must have been gratifying to witness.
Well, mostly. It was great to see everyone celebrating all things feline, and friends of mine who had vending booths did very well for themselves. I loved seeing so many unique cat items on display. There are ever-increasing numbers of people who are coming up with fun and creative solutions to keep cats well fed, active and comfortable — and there are also increasing numbers of people who are willing to pay for these items. Even better, lots of cats and kittens found homes this past weekend. I heard that so many cats got adopted on Saturday that Best Friends had to bring in more for Sunday.
All that really excited me. But I have a confession to make: I’m not a fan of cat couture.
No, I’m not talking about making cats wear clothes, I’m talking about putting cat images on clothes. I could never comfortably wear a kitty t-shirt or dress. It makes me self-conscious, like I will immediately be pegged as a crazy cat lady – a stereotype that I vehemently loathe and have been working to dispel ever since I got into the business of writing about cats. Maybe that’s why I’m a little bit sensitive about it.
Considering that I just don’t write about cats – I have a cat that blogs in her own voice (and she is my second cat to do that) – maybe the crazy cat lady thing just hits too close to home. It’s like a secret identity that I’m reluctant to divulge when I’m out and about. One of my cat vendor friends gifted me a really pretty, graceful cat necklace when I hosted a giveaway for her on Summer’s blog, and I wore it at an out-of-town cat show. When I needed something from the hotel front desk, the clerk asked if I was with the cat show and red-faced, I replied, “Is it that obvious?” He said, “No, but you’re wearing a cat necklace.” As lovely as it is, I now only wear it when I’m out with good friends.
So the abundance of cat wear at CatConLA made me just a teensy bit itchy. Apparently I was the only one because everybody else was perfectly happy sporting their green cat ears and letting their feline freak flag fly. Some woman was wearing a floor-length dress made completely of what appeared to be little pillows with cats printed on them – and people were eager to pose with her. I didn’t even snap her photo – I was too busy avoiding her and her weird cat costume.
I know this has more to do with me than anything else. Halloween is my least favorite holiday. I’ve never wanted to be a cat, or anyone or anything else. I’m perfectly happy being myself, and playing dress-up has never appealed to me. I don’t wear my passions on my sleeve or any other part of my outfits. I write about them instead. I have exactly one t-shirt with cat art on it, and the design is so cool and art deco that on first glance, you probably don’t notice that there’s a cat in the drawing. I won it in a giveaway, incidentally – I would never go out and buy a t-shirt with a cat on it.
So seeing all these people eagerly snatching up a superabundance of cat wear made me uncomfortable, in the same way your straight-laced but tolerant aunt might feel in a room of people smoking marijuana. It’s OK, really it is – just please, please don’t make me do it.
And yes, I’m the same person who went home on the first day of CatConLA, picked up her cat and brought her to a meet and greet later that night, then handed out the cat’s business card to everyone who pointed an iPhone in her direction. Yes, my cat has business cards. No, I won’t wear a t-shirt with her on it. Color me conflicted.
What about you? Do you have a passion for feline fashion, or are you reluctant about cat lady wear too?