Cat convention creates feline frenzy in Chicago suburb

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CHICAGO — If you fancy felines, there was a Chicago-area event you’ll be sorry you missed.

It was called “Meow Meetup Chicago,” and it drew 2,300 cat lovers from across the Midwest.

The event at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont was dreamed up by Lauren Mieli, the founder of The Catnip Times, a popular website with more than a million followers from 100 countries across the globe.

“It blew up and took on a life of its own,” said Mieli, who launched the site in 2012.

“There seems to be a lot of passion,” Mieli said. “Either you love [cats] or you hate them. I found that people who hate them have never had one, so they don’t understand. I think [cats] are just a misunderstood animal.”

At July’s meetup, cat fans got the chance to lap up all things kitty, including cat-themed food and photographs, to cat yoga and cat pedicures.

And there are a lot popular cats out there.

Take Cole and Marmalade, Instagram sensations with more than 380,000 followers. Lil Bub from Indiana rings in at 1.8 million Instagram followers.

Chuck the Duck wows 11,700 Instagram followers with wigs and props. And he’s even got a book coming out in September.

“I’ve crafted a couple of little wigs out of hair extensions and put it on him,” owner Cody Vandezande said. “I think the one that went viral was his Beyoncé hairdo.”

“Dog people get to go to the dog park, and they hang out with each other with their dogs in their neighborhood. [Cat people don’t have that opportunity], so we are kind of relegated to our homes and to the internet on our laptops.”

While Meow Meetup Chicago exceeded expectations, there’s still no word on whether the convention will return in 2019.

To learn more, visit:

Instagram: chuck.The.Duck
Facebook: Itschucktheduck


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