Thanks to Moira Wyton Edmonton Journal/Edmonton Sun for their coverage of our June 1, 2019 festival!
Article originally published on June 1, 2019
A sea of pointed ears flowed through the doors of MacEwan University on Saturday as more than 2,000 cat fanatics — many in costume — and their feline friends gathered for the fifth annual Edmonton International Cat Festival.
Dozens of booths hosted animal rescue groups, vendors and special “cativities” for festival goers as the largest cat festival in Alberta sought to reach $100,000 raised for local animal rescue groups in its fifth year.
“I am continuously amazed by how many people every single year come to the event,” said Linda Hoang, founder and lead organizer of the event since 2014.
This year, Hoang and her small team got a boost from Mayor Don Iveson as he proclaimed June 1, 2019 as “Cat Day” in Edmonton in honour of the festival, which hosted numerous guest speakers and famous cats throughout the day.
“It’s definitely become this niche destination event for such a huge group of very different people,” said Hoang, noting that people travel from B.C., Saskatchewan and all over Alberta to attend. “But they all have that one thing in common — they love their cats.”
While cat owners are welcome to bring their pets, visitors don’t need to own a cat to enjoy the festival.
In fact, many of the animal rescue agencies on site hope visitors will consider bringing home a furry friend in either case, and some even had kittens that could be adopted on-site.
“Coming out here and getting people engaged and learning about … why we rescue animals brings in fosters, donations and adoptions,” said Rebecca Green, event co-ordinator and a member of the cat team at Zoe’s Animal Rescue (ZAR), one of the five non-profit animal rescue organizations this year’s festival will benefit.
Especially as “kitten season” ramps up and more cats are in need of good homes, Green hopes events like these will make people consider adopting from an organization like ZAR that could support the cat owners with veterinary costs throughout the cat’s life.
“Not everyone can afford one, but everyone should have a cat,” said Green on Saturday.
Beyond helping cats find fur-ever homes, Hoang hopes the event continues to be a gathering point for proud cat lovers from all over Canada — and fight the “bad stigma” around “crazy cat people.”
“We’re definitely excited that the event encourages people to be passionate and loudly passionate about their cats,” she said. “We’re flipping the stereotype: we are crazy cat people and we’re proud of it.”