by Yasmine Shemesh
VANCOUVER – Yes, it’s fur real. Meowfest, a festival celebrating all things feline, takes place at the Roundhouse this month. The event is being put on by Meowbox (a locally-based, monthly subscription box for cats that includes toys, treats, and more) and is the first of its kind on the west coast. For cat-lovers, and for Meowbox community manager Sarita Fichtner, it’s like something out of a dream.
“We’re passionate about animal welfare and we just always found an overwhelming sense of community when it came to bringing cat people together,” she says. “Planning a larger event for cat-lovers was something we had always discussed and, after putting on a few smaller, successful fundraisers, we felt ready to take things to the next level.”
Meowfest will be donating 100% of its proceeds to the BCSPCA, as well as a handful of other charities like the Langley Animal Protection Society and New Westminster Animal Shelter. Cats available for adoption will be on-site, too. “We’ve had the chance to travel to other cat conventions and it’s really amazing to see such large scale events benefitting these organizations and shelters,” Fichtner adds. “Often, these big events have rescue cats available for adoption, which just brings so much attention and awareness to the importance of adoption and the homeless cat crisis. We’re so happy that we can do the same thing.”
Along with adoption opportunities, the festival will feature a wide variety of vendors, from World’s Best Cat Littler and handmade wool toy craftmakers Felt For Friends to Oh My Cat, a boutique carrying handcrafted gifts for both cats (think adorable bow ties and beds) and cat-lovers (prints, jewelry, and more). There’ll also be a workshop by renowned kitten rescuer Hannah Shaw and appearances by celebrity cats like Nala Cat (listed as a top influencer in 2017 by Forbes) and Klaus — the latter who’s human will be doing a presentation on living with special needs cats in honour of Klaus’ late best friend, Oskar the Blind Cat.
And while this is Meowfest’s inaugural year, Fichtner says that the response has been so great that they are looking ahead to potentially make this a reoccurring event. “It’s been so interesting to see how much attention we’ve already received and, even just in the first few months of planning, how excited people were. All across North America, people have reached out saying they’re going to come out and we’ve got vendors from Australia and Singapore. It’s just been really amazing to see the response. Of course, right now we’re just focusing on doing the best we can this year, but I think we definitely want to see what we can do after that. It’s been so much fun, I think we just want to keep it going.”
Meowfest takes place at the Roundhouse on July 29.adoption, bcspca, cats, meowfest