Swap meet features potpourri of pets, products

With a 10-foot yellow snake draped over his shoulders, Scott Beaver told the crowd of small children that he wasn't in danger. Constricting a human wasn't in this 80-pound creature's nature.

But when it wants to, the Burmese python can exert about 100 pounds per square inch of force on its prey.

"That's like getting run over by a semi if you're a rabbit," Beaver said.

He'd brought the python to the Orange County Market Place, a weekend swap meet at the OC Fair & Event Center, which on Saturday dedicated a corner to pets.

Beaver's booth, Reptile Rescue Orange County, was one of about 30 pet-related tents set up at the outdoor market, most of them offering dog adoptions or pet products — some more unique than others.

Tucked near the back, Viktoria Strohdach was selling a feline toilet seat called Cats of Thrones, a play on the HBO fantasy TV show "Game of Thrones."

The Cats of Thrones is actually a training method that uses a series of kitty toilet seats that slip underneath the human version.

The first throne looks like a typical littler box — except that it sits on top of a toilet. The translucent rocks of litter in the bowl dissolve in water, Strohdach said.

The second throne is much the same except it has a small hole in the middle. Each throne comes with a progressively larger hole until it looks like a regular toilet seat, just slightly wider.

Strohdach said the throne is wider than the standard toilet seats to accommodate larger animals, like her 28-pounder.

Bathroom-trained felines often have trouble balancing on rims designed for humans, she said.

"Many cats fall in the toilet," she said.

The vast majority of booths in the small area hosted local Orange County dog and cat rescue groups and vendors of typical products like treats and squeaky toys.

On a nearby stage, volunteers showed animals in need of a home, including a husky mix in a wheelchair and a leash-trained cat that drew coos as members of the small audience sipped beer or munched on pizza.

They touted products like Thundershirt, a type of wearable anxiety blanket for dogs.

Although plenty of adoptions could be arranged, no one could walk away with a snake from Reptile Rescue.

The group was there to raise awareness — and perhaps money for the shelter, Matthew Durham said.

But, he said, anyone who wants to provide a loving home for a snake, lizard or other reptile should check out reptilerescueoc.com for a list of adoptable pets.

"You name it, we got it," Durham said while a reticulated python slithered up the back of his head into his hair.

[For the record, 10:52 a.m. April 10: A photo caption on an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the event was hosted by the GreenDog Foundation and The Helpful Honda People. It was actually created and hosted by Kathy Thorsell of Fur-Ever Home Rescue and her team.]

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