CatConLA: Cats, Cats, and More Cats


The internet serves as a pretty suitable place for cat lovers of all kinds to congregate and share in their mutual adoration, but for those looking for an IRL experience, there’s CatConLA. That’s right, friends, there’s a convention for cat lovers now.

We stopped by the second annual CatConLA a few weeks ago to revel in the feline frenzy. The event welcomed 15,000 attendees over the course of a weekend, with attractions like meet-and-greets with celebrity cats (including Pudge, shown above), a “Caticure” station, a giant Escape the Room-style cardboard box for humans, tons of retailers, and so much more.

Among the highlights was a chance to sit down with one of the internet’s most famous cats—Lil Bub (oh, and her owner Mike Bridavsky). The busy duo is in the midst of a Kickstarter fundraiser for a mobile game called Hello Earth. You can play the demo online now, and while we won’t spoil anything, let’s just say it starts on a planet far, far away and ends on Earth with a broken spaceship. If you know anything about Lil Bub, none of this will be surprising.

“She’s a space cat, so a lot of it’s a metaphor for her real life,” Bridavsky said.

Bridavsky and Lil Bub. Image credit: CatConLA

If the team meets its fundraising goal, Hello Earth will become a free “full-blown, NES-style” mobile game created by a small team of Bridavsky’s friends and collaborators. There will be in-app purchases, and Kickstarter backers who pledge at least $15 get everything for free (there’s also tons of exclusive merchandise), so Bub fans should hop on it.

And for all of you cat lovers out there who didn’t make it to CatConLA this year, fear not: it’ll be back in 2017.

We also asked Lil Bub what kind of convention she might organize and the answer was not surprising: space travel.  

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Watch Koko the Gorilla Meet Her New Pet Kittens

Koko the gorilla passed away at the age of 46 this week. Though she was best known for her use of sign language, her love of cats is what made her a media darling.

In 1983, the western lowland gorilla reportedly told trainer Penny Patterson that she wanted a cat. Patterson and her fellow researchers at The Gorilla Foundation supported this idea, hoping that caring for a cat might prepare Koko for motherhood.

They gave Koko a lifelike stuffed animal and after she ignored that gift, she was given a gray kitten for her birthday in July 1984. Koko rejoiced. She named the cat All Ball and carried him around like a baby. All Ball got out of Koko's cage and was hit by a car just a few months later. Trainer Penny Patterson shared the news with Koko, who, Patterson said, began crying. “Sleep cat,” she reportedly signed.

For Koko's 44th birthday in 2015, Patterson let her pick out two new pets from a litter of kittens. The result was as cute as you might expect.

For more Koko videos, follow kokoflix on Youtube.

New Health-Monitoring Litter Box Could Save You a Trip to the Vet

Unsure if your cat is sick or just acting aloof per usual? A “smart toilet” for your fur baby could help you decide whether a trip to the vet is really necessary.

Enter the Pet Care Monitor: More than a litter box, the receptacle is designed to analyze cat urine for health issues, The Asahi Shimbun in Tokyo reports. Created by the Japan-based Sharp Corporation—better known for consumer electronics such as TVs, mobile phones, and the world's first LCD calculator—the product will be available for purchase on the company’s website starting July 30 (although shipping limitations may apply).

Sensors embedded in the monitor can measure your cat’s weight and urine volume, as well as the frequency and duration of toilet trips. That information is then analyzed by an AI program that compares it to data gleaned from a joint study between Sharp Corp and Tottori University in Japan. If there are any red flags, a report will be sent directly to your smartphone via an application called Cocoro Pet. The monitor could be especially useful for keeping an eye on cats with a history of kidney and urinary tract problems.

If you have several cats, the company offers sensors to identify each pet, allowing separate data sets to be collected and analyzed. (Each smart litter box can record the data of up to three cats.)

The Pet Care Monitor costs about $225, and there’s an additional monthly fee of roughly $3 for the service. Sharp Corporation says it will continue developing health products for pets, and it has already created a leg sensor that can tell if a dog is nervous by measuring its heart and respiratory rates.

[h/t The Asahi Shimbun]


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