Valentines Day and Cats: How Your Feline Friend Shows She Loves You

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valentines day and cats

What Are the Signs That My Cat Really Loves Me?

Look, we’ve all been there. Valentine’s Day is approaching and for whatever reason (By choice! It’s totally by choice!), you’re planning to spend the evening at home with the one who’s affection you can rely on. Your cat!

Our cats love us. They do! It’s not just for the food, and the treats, and the toys, and the heated apartment, and the toys, and the scratching post, and the toys, and the scratches behind, the ears, and the toys. It’s real, true love. It is! My cat loves me and I can prove it. I can prove it because I understand cat behavior. Here’s how you can prove that your cat loves you.

valentine's day and cats

The Tail’s Tale Tells

You can tell a lot by watching your cat’s tail. When my cat is frightened or reacting negatively to stimulus, her tails puffs out. When she’s excited about something or feeling super affectionate her tail twitches.

I’ve seen her do it watching birds at the birdfeeder from the windowsill. I’ve seen her do it when she plays with her favorite toy. And I’ve seen her do it when I get home for the day, or enter the room, or sit down near her on the couch.

Love Bites! Head Butts!

Like the eighties hair metal song says, love hurts. I mean, it doesn’t have to. But it can. You can also tell how your cat feels about you from how they choose to hurt you. Does your can bite you gently? Does she headbutt you and then rub her face on yours? Yes? That’s because she loves you!

Your cat gently bites you as a sign of cat affection, much as she would another cat. She also headbutts you and rubs her face on your to rub her scent onto you. She’s marking you (in a much more pleasant way) as being a part of her social group. You’re like an honorary cat!

She Kneads Me, She Grooms Me, and She Trusts Me Enough to be Vulnerable

valentines day and cats

My kitty bakes bread on my lap sometimes. She kneads and kneads, flexing her paws and pulling at the blanket. She does this because she feels close to me, so close to me that she acts like she’s a kitten again, kneading at her mother’s belly.

She also licks me. Her tongue can be a bit rough, but I know that she’s showing me that I’m belong with her. Cat grooming is not wasted on the undeserving.

And I know she trusts me. You too can tell if your cat trusts you. Does she roll on her back to get your attention, showing her belly? She would only ever show her belly to those that she trusts; you can believe that.

My Cat Loves Me, Let me Count the Ways

Whether she’s showing it by grooming me, marking me with her scent by head butting me, revealing her soft belly, twitching her tail, kneading me, or biting me, I know my kitty loves me. This Valentine’s Day, curl up with someone you can prove loves you. Curl up with your cat.

Kedi and Other Movie Kitties: How Hollywood Loves Cats

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kedi and other cat movies

The Best Documentary of the Year Was a Cat Video

Hollywood has always loved cats, but 2017 introduced a new, never-before-seen aspect of the feline world to Hollywood that we believe changed Hollywood for the better: 2017 marked the advent of the cat documentary. Kedi, released in February, follows a troupe of Turkish cats who roam the streets of Istanbul.

With adorable shots that illustrate the character and culture that is Istanbul’s cat population, the documentary captured hearts all over the world. Kedi is an objective delight, with its gorgeous street-level shots and whimsical taste of what it’s like to live as a cat in the city of Istanbul. The timeless movie was named best documentary of the year by Thrillist, and will hopefully only bring in more awards and acclaim.

Hollywood’s Best Cat Movies

Although Kedi was the first feature-length documentary about cats, the film was not the first successful cat movie. Throughout history, cats have starred on the big screen, providing countless amounts of joy, cuteness, and entertainment for all.

From animated Disney films about cats to real-life cats with silly voiceovers, Hollywood has been employing cats in movie projects for decades. Let’s take a look at some of the best cat movies of all time.

Aristocats (1970)

Aristocats was Walt Disney’s 20th animated feature. It tells the tale of a family of wealthy Parisian cats who wind up stranded in the English countryside. Adventure, romance, hitchhiking cats, and a catchy score combine to make this cat movie uniquely unforgettable.

With its jazzy tunes and colorful animation, this cat movie is perfect for all ages. Give it a watch when you’re looking for a nostalgic glimpse into the history of Hollywood cats.

Milo and Otis (1989)

Shot in Japan, this heartfelt flick illustrates the unlikely friendship of a cat-dog duo—Milo and Otis. This story of friendship is told completely without human interference. The lifelong friends go on a plethora of adventures.

Otis and Milo follow each other around throughout their adventures and are always ready to help each other out of sticky situations. Narrated in English by Dudley Moore, this is the perfect cat movie for enthusiasts who are looking for something a little different.

Garfield (2004)

Garfield offers a more modern approach to the animated cat movie that Hollywood loves. Using CGI technology, Fox Entertainment brings to life the classic comic strip character that America loves so much.

Garfield the movie is the perfect representation of the lazy, lasagna-loving cat that always seems to wind up in the most unlikely situations. For an added charm, Bill Murray plays the voice of Garfield—what’s not to love?

Harry and Tonto (2005)

Harry and Tonto tells the story of a human-cat friendship between Henry Coombes, an elderly man who decides to take a cross-country road trip with his cat after his Upper West Side apartment is condemned.

This touching movie highlights the challenges of aging while at the same time incorporating a quirky cat, which makes this movie a must-see.

Keanu (2016)

Keanu is the exciting and hilarious story of one adorable kitten who wanders away from its home and into an adventure that could be deadly for Keanu and his owner. Featuring Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, this is not your typical cat movie (and isn’t suitable for younger viewers).

Feline Flicks for the Win!

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to noteworthy cat movies. What’s your all-time favorite cat movie? Leave a comment with cat movies that you think should make it onto the list of best cat movies of all time, and we’ll revisit in a part 2!

Ten Handmade and Homemade Gifts That You Can Give Your Cat for the Holidays

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Ten Handmade and Homemade Gifts for your cat

Make the Purrfect Gift For Your Fluffy Friend This Holiday Season

Your cat will pawsitively love these DIY cat gifts. They’re perfect for any time of year, but with a little holiday twist in December, they are the perfect way to help you and your cat get into the holiday spirit together.

Ten Handmade and Homemade Gifts for your cat

1) Gingerbread Man Cat Toy

Homemade gingerbread men are the perfect holiday gift for the kitty in your life. Soft felt fabric is cuddly and chewable for tiny playful teeth, and they’re inexpensive to make on the fly. Fill the belly of the gingerbread man with catnip or another tasty cat treat to make it that much more enjoyable.

Check out the DIY tutorial on how to make one of these adorable gingerbread men at Dream a Little Bigger. Allison from Dream a Little Bigger decided to make her gingerbread men distressed possibly running from a cat? but you can decorate yours however you like.

Ten Handmade and Homemade Gifts for your cat

2) Cardboard Cat Castle

A cardboard hangout spot is the perfect gift for curious cats who love to lounge in odd locations. You can fill the cardboard palace with pillows and it’s perfect to snuggle up inside of. In the summertime, you can remove the warm layers so your cat can happily lounge around at the right temperature all year round.

We love the DIY tutorial from Happiness is Homemade. Heidi from Happiness is Homemade uses a single box, gluing it together with hot glue and decorating it with paint to make it express the personality of her cat. You can decorate yours to fit with the holiday season, or keep it evergreen with neutral adornments.

Ten Handmade and Homemade Gifts for your cat

3) Homemade Cat Scratcher

You’ll be giving a gift to both your cat and yourself with this clever homemade gift. You can use remnants of an old carpet, dishrag, or other scrap fabric as the body of the scratcher. From there, cover a wooden plank or a two-by-four with the fabric, using wood glue.

You can let the scratcher sit on the floor, lean against the wall, or turn it into a door scratcher when you follow this handy DIY tutorial from Martha Stewart.

Ten Handmade and Homemade Gifts for your cat

4) Homebaked Cat Treats

Cats may not love sugar, but they’ll still love a special treat to munch on during the holiday season. This recipe from Mess for Less uses Tuna for a flavor that your fluffy friend will love.

Use holiday or winter-themed cookie cutters to make these a really festive snack that your cat will go wild over.

Ten Handmade and Homemade Gifts for your cat

5) Soothing Pet Paw Balm

When the weather is colder, your cat’s paws may get cracked and dry just like your own skin. Keep your kitty’s feet moisturized and happy so that he or she can play without irritated paws.

This paw balm recipe from Frugally Sustainable uses coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax, for a luxuriously moisturizing elixir that can be used on both cats and dogs. If you plan on improvising with this recipe, remember that essential oils like lavender oil can be potentially toxic to cats, so make sure to do plenty of research before adding scent.

Ten Handmade and Homemade Gifts for your cat

6) Yarn Ball Catnip Toy

Cats love yarn, and they love catnip so why not combine the two to make a toy that will entertain them for hours? This DIY yarn ball catnip toy starts with a Styrofoam ball. Coat the ball in modge podge and roll it around in a bowl of catnip. Then wrap the styrofoam catnip ball in yarn. Find the full recipe at Joy the Baker.

For the yarn, use holiday colors like blue and white for Hanukkah or red and green for Christmas for a festive spin on this playful cat toy.

Ten Handmade and Homemade Gifts for your cat

7) Holiday Sock Catnip Toy

This catnip toy is probably the easiest one in this list. Simply add a spoonful of catnip to a sock and tie the end tightly. For a holiday-themed toy, use a pair of holiday socks like one from this pack of 12 socks from Target.

And you can tie a bell to the sock for an added sense of holiday cheer and playful feistiness.

Ten Handmade and Homemade Gifts for your cat

8) Cat Hammock

Make your cat a cozy hangout spot that’s perfect for lounging around for hours on a cozy winter afternoon. You can make one using leftover felt or other soft fabric and a cardboard box. Check out this tutorial from One Good Thing to make a two story cat hammock.

Give your cat hammock a holiday twist by wrapping the cardboard structure in wrapping paper or using fabric with winter scenes on it.

Ten Handmade and Homemade Gifts for your cat

9) Paper Towel Roll Cat Toy

Recycle empty paper towel and toilet paper rolls to make these adorable and fun cat toys. Poke holes around the rolls and insert plastic straws into the holes. Use hot glue to secure the straws in place.

You can also use pom poms, pipe cleaners, and feathers to decorate a toilet paper roll. Find the full tutorial at The Samantha Show. You can also fill the rolls with your cat’s favorite treat and fold the ends down for an added bit of fun.

10) Knotted T-Shirt Cat Toys

Use colorful old t-shirts to create fun little toys for your cat to gnaw on and wrestle with. Cut the old t-shirts into short, thin strips and then tie them together with pieces hanging off of both ends.

Trim the ends and let your cat enjoy! Find the full tutorial at Muslin and Merlot.

MEOWY CHRISTMAS!

Show your kitty how much you love and appreciate them with a homemade gift that will entertain them for hours on end. A homemade gift is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit and do something extra special for your extra special friend. If you’re looking for something even more special, PDX Pet Design has all your cat gift needs covered. Check out our shop and pick up a SHRU or LICKI Brush, both of which your cat will absolutely love.

[images via: Dream A Little Bigger, Happiness is Homemade, Martha Stewart, Frugally Sustainable, Joy the Baker, Target, One Good Thing By Jillee, The Samantha Show, Muslin & Merlot]

A Look Behind the Scenes of the “Lick, Lick, Lick” Video

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Licki Brush Video Still

A Few Days in the Life of a Star Kitty Model and Friends

A star is born. She’s a luminous kitty-being with a heart of platinum and four white socks. The dilute calico known only as Frankly made her on-screen debut this year in the production of “Lick, Lick, Lick,” a music video featuring her owner/companion Kevin Marie Byloos, a little-known-in-America but very well known international multi-disciplinary star from Peru. And this is a look behind the scenes of that very production.

Licki brush video still

The script below features behind the scenes trivia, interview questions with cast and crew, notes from Frankly’s on-set diary, and a few fan-related questions that came through social media channels. Feel free to leave a comment on the post if you have more questions you’d like us to answer. And now… read on and enjoy!

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Cat Ancestry: Where is Your Feline From?

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cat ancestry dna testing

Genetic Testing for Your Cat

DNA Genetic testing has been all the rage lately. If you need something to tide you over while you wait for the results of your 23andme or Ancestry DNA tests to return in the mail, then you’re going to love this.

According to recent news, the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory at the University of California, Davis has just released the official Cat Ancestry DNA Test. Now, you can find out exactly where Fluffy really hails from, without having to guess which neighborhood cats may have been the responsible pair.

How Cat DNA Testing Works

You may not have known that cats are sorted into 8 major races and 38 different populations. During the testing process, your cat DNA is compared to each of these groups in order to get a solid understanding of their genetic paw print. Then, the data will be compared to the 29 well-defined cat breeds to see where your cat ends up.

The majority of cats come from randomly bred populations, so your feline pal may not end up exactly in the breed you might have guessed. But this can still be a fun and interesting way to learn where your cat is from, especially if you’ve got a couple of little ones involved in the guessing game.

cat ancestry dna testing

What Info Can You Discover With the Feline DNA Test?

The Cat Ancestry report includes information about the genetics of the cat’s coat, fur, fur type, and fur length. The 29 well-defined cat breeds were developed from only 4 of the cat races. These include: the Arabian Sea (Sokoke), the Eastern Mediterranean (Turkish Angora and Turkish Van), South Asia (Ocicat, Birman, Burmese, Havana Brown, Korat, Russian Blue, Siamese, Singapura, and Australia Mist), and Western Europe (Abyssinian, American Shorthair, Bengal, British Shorthair, Chartreux, Cornish Rex, Egyptian Mau, Exotic Shorthair, Japanese Bobtail, Maine Coon, Manx, Norwegian Forest Cat, Persian, Ragdoll, Scottish Fold, Siberian, Sphynx).

The Cat Ancestry test can also be used on a pedigreed cat. Like other cats, it will first be matched to the race origin and then matched with the specific breeds.

Cat DNA Testing Is Easy!

Here’s what to expect when administering the test. Cat Ancestry will provide you with 3 small brushes, and all you have to do is to swab the inside of your cat’s cheek with the brushes for about 15 seconds. Allow the brushes to air-dry for 30 seconds, and reseal them into the packaging that comes included in the testing kit. Then, just ship the package off to the Cat Ancestry Labs and wait 6-8 weeks for the results, which will be emailed to you.

cat ancestry dna testing

Why Do You Need a Cat Ancestry Test?

If you think your cat is part of a very mixed breed that might be undetectable by the test, it will still be fun to know which part of the world their lineage traces back to. Finding out about your genetics is a fascinating experience, and what could be more fun than sharing the activity with your feline pal?

If you are thinking about taking advantage of this fun cat activity, you can learn more about it or order your very own home testing kit at UC Davis’s website here.

Calling All CAT Lovers: Enter Today to Win $250 Cash and Other Special Prizes!

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PDX pet Design $250 cat lovers contest rules

If You Love Cats, You Have to Enter This Contest

This fall, we released our newest video for the original song, “Lick, Lick, Lick” which was written especially for the release of our brand new Glow in the Dark Licki brush. Now, we’re running a fabulous contest where cat lovers of all kinds can easily enter to win a nice pile of cash, just in time for some serious holiday shopping. No strings attached! Here’s what you need to know to enter and win. Good luck!

How to Enter the New Glow in the Dark LICKI Brush Fall Contest

There are only a few rules to get you entered into the contest:

  1. Go and watch our new You Tube video, featuring the hit song “Lick, Lick, Lick” here:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-GvPV5LF6o
  2. Leave a comment on the You Tube page so we know who you are
  3. Share the video on your Facebook page, and be sure to tag us: @pdxpetdesign

That’s it! With just 3 easy steps that you complete before 12/15, you will be entered to win $250 cash, an amazing SHRU CAT TOY of your very own, as well as a few more special prizes!

PDX Pet Design Holiday Cat Contest

  • 1 winner will be selected at random from all contest entries
  • 12/15/17 at 5pm PST marks the official end of the contest
  • Winner will be announced via social media and contacted via Facebook

Help us spread the word about the new Glow in the Dark LICKI Brush and our super sweet video, and you could be a winner for the holidays!

PDX Pet Design Holiday Cat Contest

How to Introduce a New Kitten to an Older Cat

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introducing your cat and kitten

So You Just Brought Home a Brand New Kitty…

If you’re a cat owner, you may have experienced this scenario before. You discover an adorable little kitten and decide you want him to join your household. But when you bring him home, you learn that your normally sweet, easy-going (and current boss of the house) cat doesn’t find the new visitor to be so cute.

Next thing you know, there’s hissing, growling, and general terrorizing of the new guy, leading to him hiding under the nearest piece of furniture and trembling in fear. So how can you ease this transition and fully restore kitty harmony in your home?

The good news is that while your cats may never become the best of cat friends, most housecats, although they are generally solitary animals, do find ways to get along. Some just might even act like littermates after a while, but you must be patient. Here are a few tips for bringing your cats together when you’ve just brought a new kitten home.

1. Keep Your Old and New Cats Separated at First

Whatever you do, don’t just toss the new kitten right into the mix. This will terrify the kitten and antagonize your existing cat.

Instead, keep the new cat segregated in its own room or section of the house, with its own food, water, bed and litter. You can also provide them with more of a sense of security by keeping them together with the cat carrier you brought them home in, and the blanket you wrapped them up with.

This transition period will help the cats get used to each others’ smells, and will let the new kitten pick up the smell of your home before getting too close to the other cat. And on that note….

Introducing your cat to your kitten

2. Mingle the Cat’s and Kitten’s Scents

The more the cats smell like each other, the easier it will be for them to get friendly.

Get in the habit of petting one and then petting the other without washing your hands in between. Switch elements of their beds or bedding from time to time, so their beds start to smell like each other.

You can even try rubbing a cloth on the scent glands of the face of each cat, and then rubbing that cloth on the furniture to further disseminate and mix their smells.

3. Let the Cats Meet While Separated

After a week or so, maintain a slow transition by letting the cats see and sniff each other through a gate or partition. This way, they can get to know each other, but still retreat to a safe space the other cat cannot access if they get nervous.

If you immediately get heated hissing and growling from either side, you may need to give the cats a little more separation time before finally bringing them together.

cats get along

4. Give Each Cat His Own Separate Facilities

Once you have put both cats together in a shared environment, don’t force the closeness. Make sure they each have their own bed, and not right next to each other.

It may not be practical to spread two sets of food dishes, water dishes and litter boxes out to different areas of the house, but you can still make sure they each have their own set. They may well decide to start sharing on their own, but give them the choice at first.

This will reduce tension and let each cat feel independent, so that they can befriend the other on their own terms and when they’re really ready. If your cats feel in control of their situation, they are much more likely to be amenable to giving you the positive result you’re looking for.

For more tips on cat harmony as well as some great products your cat will love, visit PDX Pet Design today.

 

Despite What It May Sometimes Seem, Cats Actually Like Us

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Grumpy looking orange cat sitting on a porch

Though Sometimes Coy, Cats Prefer People to a Toy

Many people – cat-lovers and those unreasonably evil haters of cats alike – hold the belief that cats don’t like humans as much as their domestic counterparts, dogs. This belief is based upon their sultry attitudes, independent natures, and affinity for occasionally avoiding human contact.

But a new study was released in March 2017 that suggests that cats don’t dislike humans as much as many of us may assume. The study, published by a journal called Behavioral Processes, argues that a majority of cats actually prefer human interaction over other stimuli, followed by food, which came in second place.

Study Shows That Cats Prefer Human Contact

Despite the fact that there are over 85 million domestic cats in the U.S., many people still believe that cats are independent creatures and sidestep our attempts to train.

For the study, scientists used 25 adult domestic cats and 25 adult shelter cats. The study included exposure to human “play time,” exposure to food, exposure to various scents (including catnip and the scent of a gerbil), and exposure to assorted toys.

Cats like human contact

The Purrfect Pal

The study used duration of time that each cat engaged with a given stimuli to judge their affinity for that stimuli.

The final part of the study involved placing all four categories of stimuli in a room with each cat to see which type the cat approached first and most quickly. The conclusion of the study showed that while cats enjoy a large variety of stimulus, the majority of cats preferred human contact.

Cuddling Is Physically Good for Your Cat’s Health

An article published by Popular Science shows that a raised tail from a cat is a sign of good intent, and if you are a cat lover, then you know that cats often raise their tails as they rub against your leg.

Another study published by a journal called Preventative Veterinary Medicine asserted that “gentling” you cat can actually improve its health. The researcher who conducted the study, Nadine Gourkow, told Huffington Post that she found “a strong association between positive emotions induced by gentling and good health.”

The study showed that a cat’s positive reaction to being pet stimulates the production of an antibody which helps to fight upper respiratory disorders.

Make Sure You Listen To Your Cat and Give Him or Her Space

Although current research decidedly shows that cats aren’t as demure as they may come off, it is still important to give your cat plenty of the space that cats need. If your animal companion gives off vibes that it doesn’t want to be touched, definitely pay attention to those vibes.

Some less recent studies have shown that when a cat is pet or cuddled in a nonconsensual way, things can quickly go awry. A 2013 journal titled Physiology & Behavior reports that cats pump stress hormones into their bloodstreams when pet excessively or when they don’t want to be touched.

Never Stop Lovin’ Your Furry Friend

This study doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pet your cat – it simply demonstrates how sensitive cats are to human contact. Listening to your cat’s signals will keep your cat happy and unstressed.

And when it approaches you want wants to snuggle, snuggle with good conscience because you could be improving it’s respiratory health. Pawsome!

CatCon 2017: Meet Some of the Coolest People Who Will Be Attending

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best presenters at cat con 2017

CatCon Is 2017’s “Mane” Event for Cat Lovers Across the Country

It’s that time of the year — cat lovers from across the country join together to revel in their mutual devotion to cats of all shapes and sizes! That’s right folks, CatCon 2017 is just around the corner and boy oh boy, do they have a show for you!

CatCon is an annual celebration of cats and the cat aesthetic, all of which has developed out of pure passion and love for feline pets. People gather each year in southern California for the big event. So if you are in the Pasadena area or willing to travel, you can get your tickets here. For more information on the details of the event, check out the CatCon FAQ page.

Steph and Kate by Molly and Miranda

A Few Guest Highlights We’re Excited About at CatCon 2017

This year’s CatCon features a plethora of talented artists and guests who love cats just about as much as you do. To get into the spirit, we at PDX Pet Design have put together a little preview of the coming attractions.

Steph and Kate by Molly and Miranda

Steph and Kate

Keep your eyes peeled for adorable handmade homegoods with the cutest kitty designs you ever did see. The makers of these cute cat products are Molly and Miranda, two artists who have combined their passion for making things with their love for cats and minimalist designs. Steph and Kate are the cats that inspire the upcycled yet classical designs that you will find on the handmade tea towels, mugs, pouches, baby bibs, napkins, and other homegoods. Watch out for their iconic line drawn designs in fresh variations.

Jenny Parks

Jenny Parks has become prolific for her science fiction and pop culture illustrations that feature cats as the the faces of characters that we all know and love. Haven’t you always wanted to see your favorite characters from Stranger Things, only in cat form? Well now you can!

StrangeFurThings Jenny Parks

Parks combines her love for cats with her love for “nerdy stuff,” and serves a community that has many of the same interests. She ventures, “I think it’s fair to say my audience is a healthy mix of cat lovers and nerds who are also cat lovers!” Parks is excited to meet and interact with other cat people and cat artists, so make sure to say hi!

Tasha / Feminist Felines

Feminist Felines book

If you haven’t gotten a chance to read Feminist Felines, an adorable illustrated book that uses puns, word play, and cat allusions to underscore the importance of feminism and gender equality — you definitely should add it to your summer reading list. Tasha, the mastermind behind the book, explains, “The ‘tail’ highlights feminist issues, and celebrates working together to ‘purrpetuate pawsitivity.’ With a ‘purrtinent’ message, a plethora of cat puns, and the bright illustrations, there is something for everybody.”

Feminist Felines book

Since the book’s release in 2015, Tasha has been working on cat custom pet portraits and a few other children’s book projects. Tasha will be at CatCon and is excited to surround herself with like-minded caring people who also identify as crazy cat people.

KITTY DECIDES / Amy Raasch

Kitty Decides has become a cult Internet obsession that channels the cat video craze into a productive platform for pawsitive change. Amy Raasch explains her mission: “The KITTY DECIDES mission is to translate our enthusiasm for watching Internet cat videos into meaningful donations to help animals in real life.”

KITTY DECIDES Amy Raasch

She is excited to reveal that her next project “explores the animalistic behavior of humans in love — and the human behavior of animals in love.” For CatCon, Raasch is scheming a secret show of cat-themed rock music, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for psychedelic cat-cophony!

Cat People Unite!

CatCon is the one weekend where hundreds of people gather to meditate on the coy quirks and understated all the amazing goofiness that cats embody. Come on out to celebrate the beauty and joy that is cats! PDX Pet Design will be there too – stop by and say hi at booth #806!

KITTY DECIDES Amy Raasch

How to Prepare for CatCon 2017: An Interview With PDX Pet Design’s Tara O’Mara

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Cat Con logo with close up of a cat paw

Making Sure You Get the Most Out of Presenting at Cat Con 2017

Going to your first trade show can be an exasperating experience — like the first time you go camping or on an overseas trip. No matter how many laundry lists you make to ensure you don’t leave something critical at home, you’re probably going to forget something. Or worse, you may not even realize that something as easily overlooked as daily snacks could be so crucial to having a positive experience.

We sit down with Tara O’Mara of PDX Pet Design to discuss the in’s and out’s of attending CatCon 2o17, covering what it’s like and what you should definitely keep in mind if this is your first time at the convention. Take it from someone who’s been there in the past, and don’t make the same mistakes!

Q1: For a first time participant / exhibitor at CatCon, what would you say are the five (10? 3?) most important things to know?
– If you’re having a booth, make sure you have some help so you can take a little break and wander the show floor yourself! You’re going to wish you attended just as a visitor so that you had maximum time to check out the amazing talks and the other exhibitors who have some of the most eclectic cat-themed things on display you’ll ever see, so make sure you carve out at least a little bit of time to check out the sights.

– Bring lots of business cards! Chances are you’re going to meet a lot of people you may want to collaborate with and you’ll want to easily get in touch with them. Another great way to do this is to immediately add them to your social connection (e.g., by adding them to your IG follow list, etc). Maybe have a CatCon group in your preferred social media channel, or work to quickly add these cool cats to your favorite feed or list asap.

CatCon 2017 tips for attendees

Q2: What would you have loved to know about before your first time that no one told you about?

– Relax and have fun. In general, vendors at conferences/trade shows can become fixated on sales and whether or not the conference was “worth their while” in terms of how much they spent on attending vs. how many sales they made (we’ve done this too!). You have to remember that conferences are a long-term investment in your brand awareness, and also give you an opportunity to learn from other influencers in the cat industry.

All that money you spent on your booth, your flights, your hotel, etc. is an investment in your future business, so try to refrain from calculating whether you “made back” all the money you put into it. You’ll walk away from CatCon feeling giddy, inspired, and connected to many loving and authentic people in the industry, and the value of that experience cannot be measured in pennies.

Q3: Is it wise to create a social media strategy before you go? How best to balance updating social media while there, and still being present to greet attendees?

– This really depends on how much extra help you have for your booth. I’d love to set up an Instagram feed and be able to wander the show taking cat-selfies and tagging all of the paw-some people we meet, but I tend to prioritize my in-person experiences with the people I meet there, because there’s nothing like an in-person connection.

If I had extra helpers, I’d task them with updating our social media with the latest goings-on. Even though the official CatCon feed does a wonderful job, there’s so much going on that it’s better to have multiple perspectives available on social!

Q4: What about basic stuff? Snack, eye drops, breath mints, hand outs — what’s on your check list of stuff not to forget?

– Oh geez, this is a good one. Snacks and breaks are CRITICAL at any trade show, and CatCon is no different. You can run on adrenaline for about 4 hours, max. We pack lots of snacks and like to rotate our breaks among people working in the PDX Pet Design booth.

For giveaways and “things-to-remember-us-by,” we love giving out stickers because attendees love stickers. These aren’t always allowed, however (this year, stickers are not allowed, btw). We’re getting creative with our giveaways, thinking of doing temporary tattoos or miniaturized versions of our products to maximize attendee fun and our memorability.

The other critical thing on our checklist is cat ears for everyone in the booth. ‘Cause it just makes life more fun.

CatCon 2017 tips for attendees

Q5: How much time do you spend with each person who comes to your booth? Are you careful to give equal attention, or do you have to make some “business” decisions about how/where to spend your time?

– Thankfully, we worked out a nice flow within our booth last year, and we’ll be using the concept again this year. We spend a few minutes chatting with each and every visitor to understand their kitty problems and their cat’s personality.

If they’re interested in learning more about a particular product or story we have, we typically refer that person to whomever the “expert” on that topic is in the booth. This helps us keep staff available at “the front lines,” and gets every visitor’s questions answered most efficiently.

For example, I might be at the front of the booth, engaging with visitors and handing out stickers or postcards and refer a visitor who’s interested in learning more about SHRU to Jason, who knows all the ins-and-outs of the engineering that’s inside each SHRU unit.

A general reminder — make sure to focus on your VIPs! There are some people that will come by your booth trying to sell to you or partner with you. While these can be valuable people to know as well, have a clear idea of why you have a booth and who you most want to connect with while you’re there. For us, that’s our customers and influencers!

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Thanks Tara for sitting down to talk. We hope this has been a helpful guide for anyone planning to attend their first tradeshow this year, at Cat Con 2017. Good luck to all the attendees!

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