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Cat Lovers Congregate at California Feline Festival Starring Lil Bub

May 19, 2014


Like something out of a cat-lover’s dream, the second-annual OakCatVidFest celebrates all things feline. Equal parts film festival and street fair, the OakCatVidFest welcomed over 6,000 people on Saturday, with all proceeds from the event benefiting the Easy Bay SPCA.

The event, in its second year, took over a few blocks of downtown Oakland, California. Festival activities ranged from kittens for adoption, cat photography, cat toys and even a booth for celebrity cat meet and greets starring Lil Bub.

The cat festival concept started at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The center hosts its own cat video festival every year and this year brought the festival to the Great Wall of Oakland — a huge wall on the side of a building where video art is projected on first Fridays of the month.

“We’re also trying to let people know that Oakland is a fun place where interesting cool things happen,” Issabella Shields, executive director of the Great Wall of Oakland, told Mashable. “We’re trying to change the ad messaging of Oakland.”

Some of the "Cativities," included an arts and crafts station that of course, focused on cats. On hand was also a cat mascot (pictured above), who greeted the crowd and gave out high-fives, and hula-hooped, every chance it could. And "Kitty City" was an area filled with cat toys, apparel, art and photography.

Bands, food trucks, wineries and breweries, many of which were Oakland-based, were all in attendance. Festival participants showed their cat pride with ears, tattoos and clothing.

The event’s biggest sponsor, Pet Food Express, was there to fundraise both money and supplies for kittens, like food and products — as well as to celebrate.

“This is one of the few events for cat lovers,” Mike Murray, director of community relations at Pet Food Express told Mashable. “We just wanted to be a part of it and collect donations rather than sell products.”

Three Internet-famous cats were present and made for a main attraction: Dusty, the Klepto Kitty, Ava Gardner the cat and everyone’s favorite perma-kitten, Lil Bub.

All of the celebrity kitties were kept in an exclusive, enclosed tent — the line to meet Lil Bub was about 100-people deep at one point. We tried to see Lil Bub at the end of the day, but were told she was too tired (dare we say catatonic?) after a day among her legions of fans.

While last year’s festival focused around the videos themselves, this year’s main goal was to recruit kitten foster parents and to raise money for the East Bay SPCA. Twelve shelters were on site, encouraging people to adopt kittens, but the festival stayed true to its roots and concluded with an hour-long showing of 40 juror-selected cat videos, a purrrfect way to end the event. (Yeah, we went there.)

By Ann-Marie Alcántara

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