CatConLA wraps up with ‘furr-ocious’ fashion show, celebrity cat guests

Lizzy Greene and Addison Riecke play with kittens at the SPCA-LA Adoption booth at CatConLa. 88 cats were adopted at the event.
(Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)

CatConLA, a gathering of cat lovers from far and wide, wrapped up its weekend celebration of all things feline Sunday in purr-fect fashion.

In fact, the highlight of the afternoon was the Furr-ocious Fashion Face Off Contest, where nine contestants decked out in “catspirational” attire strutted across the stage – or the “catwalk” – in the Cloud Room of the Reef in downtown Los Angeles, where the event was held.

For the record:

7:45 p.m. June 27, 2016A caption in an earlier version of this article misspelled Addison Riecke’s last name as Rieke.

Several of the costumes were homemade, including the ballgown-esque skirt that one contestant made from woodblock prints of cat images that she then stuffed and sewed together. She wore a cat-inspired mask, and her gloves had claws.


Laura Mart, right, poses for a photo with her fashion cat assistant Cate Thurston at CatCon LA in Los Angeles.
Laura Mart, right, poses for a photo with her fashion cat assistant Cate Thurston at CatCon LA in Los Angeles.
(Richard Vogel / Associated Press )

But it was Jeremy Tjhung, traveling from New York for the convention, who came out on top with his homemade costume: a jumpsuit covered with stuffed cats, embellished by a hand-stitched cat’s face on the back.

“I’ve always dreamed of waking up in a puddle of kittens,” Tjhung said during his strut. He also urged the audience to vote for gun reform and gay rights before detaching the stuffed cats and tossing them into the cheering crowd.

Although final attendance figures were not available, organizers had expected between 15,000 and 20,000 cat lovers to attend this weekend, up from last year’s 12,500. The venue became so crowded on Saturday that the fire marshal at one point stopped people from entering.

Tabitha Sheehan wears cat makeup at CatConLA.
Tabitha Sheehan wears cat makeup at CatConLA.
(David McNew / Getty Images )

Sunday’s session had more than its share of celebrity cats, including social media sensations Lil Bub and Nala. Cats of Instagram team Eli Omidi and Kady Lone, along with Lone’s cat Pudge, discussed with BuzzFeed’s Chelsea Marshall what makes a cat a celebrity.

The day ended with Lil Bub’s Big Show. During the presentation, Lil Bub licked her desk as her owner Mike Bridavsky showed photos and videos documenting the cat’s life, which she began as the runt of a litter. Lil Bub has osteopetrosis, which made it difficult for her to walk before she was treated.

Surprise guest celebrity dog Norbert and his owner Julie Freyermuth joined the show. Norbert showed off his ballet and high-five skills. Lil Bub was silent when Bridavsky said that Norbert was the only animal cuter than her.

CatConLA creator Susan Michals told the audience that 88 cats had been adopted at the event.