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Arts and Entertainment

Photos: Inside CatCon 2016

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CatCon 2016 went down this weekend at The Reef in downtown Los Angeles. We escaped from a giant cardboard box, bought our cats wine and learned how people in giant animal suits keep cool.

CatCon was crowded to the point where it was hard to move between the aisles of cat-themed goods, but the diligent were able to discover a number of curious feline-themed products and items for pets. The day was also interspersed with various activities including a cat fashion show—humans in cat-inspired garb, not cats in outfits—meet-and-greets with human and cat celebrities, and an escape room held inside a giant cardboard box.

I started my day by visiting a number of vendors peddling organic catnip and hand-made toys, then strolling through the Kat Von D beauty bar where women were getting sharp black cat eyeliner or sitting in a Game of Thrones-esque Iron Throne made from giant lipsticks.

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Mother of cats. (Photo by Juliet Bennett Rylah/LAist)
I waited in line for the escape room during which I saw a woman really get into her inner cat by vomiting on the floor and then walking away like it never happened. Such a cat move. Aside from that minor disaster, the con actually went pretty well despite the crowds. I eventually got into the escape room, which was set up like a giant play area for cats inside a big cardboard box. One of the clues required the user to move a ball through a large tube to get a laser pointer to draw out a number, for instance.

At the cat fashion show, I was very impressed by a woman who was dressed in a head-to-toe cat suit. She revealed that she had a system in the suit that circulated water to keep her cool, similar to the system used by NASCAR drivers. (If you're interested in seeing other costumes she makes, check out her Instagram here.)

Meanwhile, @stylistofthelambs, who won the competition, went for a political statement.

And musician Amy Raasch dressed up like Catwoman. She also made a music video called "Kitty Decides" in which she wears her costume.

There weren't that many actual cats around for petting unless you were serious about adopting a new friend, as cats get can get stressed if they're around too many people trying to handle them. We learned via Animal Planet that of the 100 available cats, at least 97 of them found new homes.

There were many products for cats a pet owner could buy. There was a $450 litter box that automatically sifts clumps out of litter. There was designer cat furniture. One booth, Catchitecture, was selling cardboard boxes that folded into more aesthetically pleasing hiding spots for cats than your average Amazon box. We picked up one of those, obviously. You can also buy your cats wine—pinot meow or moscato—which is basically a catnip tea.

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He likes it. (Photo by Juliet Bennett Rylah/LAist)
For the human cat lover, there were shirts, dresses, stickers, hats, pins, jewelry, art, purses and more. For $60, you could get a full-body Pusheen onesie. There was a whole booth dedicated to Lil Bub-themed merchandise. You could even get incredibly detailed portraits from artist Jenny Parks in which cats appear as characters from TV and film, including superhero franchises and Star Wars.

Over at The Ace Hotel, Purina had a pop-up in which cat specialists explained proper feeding and cat care while guests visited with kitties in specially decorated hotel rooms. Here, we met Sunglasses Cat, among other furry friends.

All in all, it was an exhausting cat-filled day, and it turns out my cats like 'wine' just as much as Cersei Lannister.

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