By Event Management International, 18 September, 2018

Over 20,000 kitty-crazed visitors attended the first-ever Cat Lovers Show at the Royal Exhibition Building last weekend (September 8 and 9) and they travelled far and wide from across Victoria, interstate and even overseas.

Show organisers, Event Management International, were humbled by the huge number of walk-up visitors on-site, resulting in a complete sell-out
of the show within just four hours of opening. The inaugural Cat Lovers Show experienced 40% more visitors than their first Dog Lovers Show back in 2013.

Cat Lovers Show Founder and CEO Jason Humphris said, “The cat community and pet industry have been overwhelmed by the unprecedented success of the first major festival in Australia dedicated to our feline friends. We are indebted to everyone who made the event such an incredible hit, from the exhibitors, sponsors, breeders and rescue groups, to the volunteers, presenters, venue, suppliers, our passionate staff and of course the thousands of cat enthusiasts who turned out in force to celebrate our cats like never before in this country”.

“Any first Show is a leap of faith and there are some things you can only learn by running the event. Now we know how popular it is we will be able to set the show up a lot better in 2019 to cater for large crowds with a much bigger area, improved layout, a lot more cats and possibly adding a Friday”.
The event welcomed some of the biggest names in the animal world presenting talks and demonstrations on the ROYAL CANIN STAGE and in the PET CIRCLE COLOSSEUM.

Dr Katrina Warren was the MC and presented the lowdown on how to give your cat a happy and enriched life indoors and how to keep your pets in purrfect harmony. Celebrity vet Dr Harry Cooper ran through how to solve the top ten most common feline health problems and how to select the right cat for your lifestyle. Nat Geo Wild and Wild Animal Encounters own Ben Britton detailed the similarities between wild and domesticated cats, Rose Horton taught visitors how to speak cat, whilst Dr Jo Righetti ran through common cat behaviour problems. Cats love to learn, and Kelly Gill enlightened visitors with her talk on how to train your own cat to respond to commands including sit, stay and recall – yes cats can be trained just like dogs! Dr Kimberley Chainey and Dr Teagan Lever from Pet Circle also presented some fun and innovative ways to get your indoor kitty moving and busting that unwanted pudge in their incredibly popular Cat Fat Blasters talk!

Feline fanciers and cat-groupies flocked to see global internet sensation (with over 1.3m social media followers) and celebrity pet trainer ‘CATMANTOO’ aka Robert Dowlett and his world record-holding cat duo ‘Didga’ and ‘Boomer’ as they provided training insights whilst zooming across the stage on skateboards to shake paws with their adoring fans! Kelly Gill and her amazing ginger cat ‘Tigger’ also proved that you can teach an old cat new tricks, as the agile 10-year-old leapt through hoops and displayed the cat charisma that has landed him multiple TV and film roles across the globe.

Over 30 cat breeds were on display in the Pro Plan and Tidy Cats Breed Showcase, from fluffy Ragdolls to hairless Sphynxes, spotted Bengals and purring Persians – every visitor was eager to get up close and pawsonal with the array of breeds. Due to the outstanding demand for hands-on cat interaction, organisers have confirmed the breed showcase will be greatly expanded in 2019.

The Pidan Pat-A-Cat Zone offered another opportunity to meet cats of all shapes and sizes, with the chance to speak with handlers to gain first-hand advice on cat-care and some of the medical and behavioural characteristics unique to each breed. The claws were out in the Herald Sun Purrfect Paws
& Prosecco Parlour, where hundreds of visitors had their nail paws painted free of charge by Victoria’s cult nail technician to the stars, Clara H Nails. In addition to stunning feline-themed nail art, visitors could enjoy a glass of bubbles from the on-site prosecco van while soaking up all cat-mosphere of the Show.

Organisers delivered on their promise to connect visitors with cats in need, providing space free of charge to over 30 leading rescue shelters from across Victoria. The Cat Adoption Zone helped kitties looking for a fur-ever home, with an educational stage hosted by tv presenter and rescue ambassador Alex Hecker, as experts presented on adoption tips and responsible cat ownership.

Four-legged felines weren’t the only cats on-site, as visitors dressed-up in their fanciest feline finery to make the Cat Lovers Show one of the biggest
displays of Kitty-CosPlay in the Southern Hemisphere. Visitors got the chance to strut their stuff each day on the PET CIRCLE COLOSSEUM as part of the CATwalk Fashion Purrade with the top looks cheered on and voted by the deafening crowd and one ultimate winner slinking home with the $500 daily cash prize! A litter of large posters provided attendees with detailed information about over 50 cat breeds in the Purrfect Match Zone and visitors enjoyed a scrumptious array of food in the Fancy Feast Lounge Café with a Cat-inspired menu including Purrito’s, Garfield’s Lasagne and Chicken CATsu Burgers!

In the GET CATTY! Kitty Kids Zone hundreds of children got involved to make their own cat nip toys and have their face painted with their favourite breed, before snapping a selfie in the Funny Photo Wall. The Ask-An-Expert zone gave visitors the opportunity to fire questions at qualified
vets, groomers and behaviourists on anything they need to know about their often mysterious cats. Thousands of cats will no doubt be living the highlife now, as their paw-rents perused and purchased the hottest cat services and products in tech, art, kitty couture, food and tabby treats from the 100+ exhibitors and organisers expect the number of expo stands to double in size next year.

The new dates for 2019 will be Saturday 30 November and Sunday 1 December and given the popularity of the show this year it may become a purely pre-ticketed event next year.

Source: Event Management International