LOS ANGELES – The online cat craze is stepping into the real world.
The pets that are made into Internet memes and star in clickable videos are drawing crowds and celebrities to the first-ever CatConLA this weekend. As many as 10,000 visitors are expected at the cat lovers’ version of ComicCon, the comic book fest that attracts flocks of costumed fans.
At the event, famous feline Lil Bub rubbed up to Mayim Bialik of “The Big Bang Theory” and Jack McBrayer of “30 Rock” as panelists and vendors entertained or offered free swag.
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Seminars featured Simon Tofield, who created “Simon’s Cat,” an animated YouTube series about a mischievous fat cat and his owner Simon, and Lil Bub, whose big eyes and perpetually wagging tongue power a popular YouTube channel. They, along with cat lovers Bialik and McBrayer, also did meet-and-greets.
There are more than 100 vendors, including PetSmart Charities, which has artists drawing visitors the way they would look if they were cats. Sponsors also provided participants with nail art of cats.
Dozens of adoptable cats and kittens from six Los Angeles shelters were also on hand.
Organizer Susan Michals says 65,000 square feet is devoted to felines and their followers and she hopes attendees will embrace the ComicCon trend of dressing up.
But, you cannot bring your cat – the crowds and strange noises would likely be a catastrophe.
“They just wouldn’t dig it here,” Michals said.