April 26, 2018
by Danielle Smith
The second annual Cat Camp, a fan convention/adoption event, takes place May 5 and May 6, 2018, at the Penn Plaza Pavilion in New York City. The event will feature cat adoptions, panel discussions, meet-and-greets and vendors selling cat-related items and services. Guest speakers/panelists are well-known cat enthusiasts involved in cat rescuing, spaying/neutering and adoptions. The Petco Foundation is a presenting sponsor.
Here are some of the key differences between the event in 2018, compared to 2017:
New Partner: Cat expert Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell” and “Cat vs. Dog,” will be the keynote speaker and will do a meet-and-greet like he did in 2017. But in 2018, he has become a partner in the event, whose official title is now Jackson Galaxy’s Cat Camp. Cat Camp was co-founded by Christina Ha, owner of Meow Parlour, New York’s City first cat cafe, which opened in 2014. She is still a partner in Cat Camp.
New Location: The event has moved from the Metropolitan Pavilion to the larger Penn Plaza Pavilion in order to accommodate more people.
New Season: The 2017 Cat Camp took place in March at the tail end of the winter season, when it can still get very cold in New York City. Switching the event to May, a warmer month in spring (and just in time for kitten season), is a smarter choice and better for the event’s overall appeal.
New Pricing: The price of general admission for one adult has gone up from $10 to $25 per day, not including taxes and other additional fees. The price of general admission does not include access to the celebrity presentation panels or celebrity meet-and-greets. The meet-and-greets are separate ticketed events. In 2018, Galaxy, Hannah Shaw (also known as The Kitten Lady) and Lil Bub (with her owner Mike Bridavsky) are doing separate meet-and-greets on both days, so that means an attendee who wants to attend all meet-and-greets for Galaxy, Shaw and Lil Bub will have to pay for each meet-and-greet separately, with no discounts if you buy a ticket for more than one.
In 2018, that means Cat Camp admission for one adult for one day at this event can be as little as $25 (for general admission only) or as high as $300 for access to everything, including all three meet-and-greets. Multiply those numbers by two if you plan to attend on both days. The good news is that kids under the age of 6 still get free admission, but they must be accompanied by an adult with a Cat Camp ticket. There are also discounts for children ages 6 to 12.
While some people may have a problem with Cat Camp’s price of general admission nearly tripling in one year, the big jump in admission price probably has a lot to do with the fact that having the event at a bigger venue means a higher cost to do this event. The event organizers obviously want to make a profit, but they might want to consider getting celebrities who are more famous in order to justify the higher prices. For example, CatCon, the California rival to Cat Camp, has famous actors who are cat owners as part of its lineup. Ian Somerhalder (“The Vampire Diaries”) and Kristen Bauer (“True Blood”) are part of the 2018 CatCon lineup, and CatCon has more celebrity names at about the same admission price as Cat Camp.
New Panelists: Returning guest speakers from the 2017 Cat Camp include “The Kitten Lady” Shaw and CatTown founder Adam Myatt. CatTown (located in Oakland, California) is the first permanent cat cafe in the United States.)
New panelists in 2018 include:
- Dr. Carly Bloom of the Animal Medical Center
- Sterling Davis, also known as Trap King, a trap/neuter/spay activist
- Ingrid King, author of several cat books
- Big Cat Rescue director of outreach Jennifer Leon
- Kathleen O’Malley, founder NYC Feral Cat Initiative
- Andrew Marttila, cat photographer/videographer (He also happens to be Shaw’s boyfriend, photographer and videoographer, so if you follow The Kitten Lady on social media, you’ve seen him and his work.)
- Chris Poole, owner of celebrity cats Cole and Marmalade
Although this is an event for cat enthusiasts, the only cats allowed at Cat Camp are those that have been pre-approved for adoptions or guest appearances. In other words, people have to leave their pet cats at home (for legal and health reasons, obviously), and this policy will be strictly enforced, say event organizers.