Hanging out with my new kitty furriend, Q!
This weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the AOL and BermanBraun PawNation Pet Rally at Tompkins Square Park in New York City! The event was held to celebrate the relaunch of PawNation as the premiere destination to promote pet and animal culture on the web. The revamped site will feature pet profiles, featured columns, animal news (including cat related tidbits from yours truly), and more to help animal lovers stay on top of all the latest happenings around the animal kingdom.
Pet rally this way!
Luckily, gorgeous weather prevailed as me and my pal Ann Dziemianowicz of the blog Paper Bag & String and author of the book "Careers for your Cat" met up to munch on gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, surrounded by a sea of pup attendees! The North Shore Animal League was also on hand with their mobile unit filled with adoptable puppies and kittens, while Randall, the narrator behind the infamous "Honey Badger" YouTube video, emceed the festivities, and provided his trademark observational wit to the pet-friendly proceedings.
Randall was one of the nicest people I've ever met! His new book, "Honey Badger Don't Care: Randall's Guide to Crazy, Nastyass Animals" is in stores now!
Paw Nation Editor Kelli Bender shows off her cool cat manicure. She was also rocking a pair of fierce kitty leggings by WOWCH.
The highlight of the event was a pet pageant that pitted pooches and one cat (more on him in a minute) against each other in categories such as talent, fashion, runway walk, and best kisser. In the end, a black Pug named Calypso who worked it in on the red carpet in a fluorescent pink wig earned the right to wear the tiny, tie-on tiara.
We weren't sure if we were going to see any felines brave enough to tackle a busy, dog infested park, but one super chilled out ginger kitty quickly got my attention. I caught up with his owner, Zahram, who graciously gave me the scoop on her preternaturally cool cat.
Q, "like the letter," is an extremely sociable Maine Coon who is leash trained, and has no problem holding his own in the mixed company of dogs. In fact, much to my surprise, none of the pooches even seemed to notice that the fashionably styled puss was in attendance! Although he was dressed to the nines in a motorcycle jacket, Zahram tells me that Q only wears clothing for charity and therapy (he's also a certified therapy cat), and shares his wardrobe with two housemates: Another kitty named R2-D2, and Sigmund Freud, an adorable pup who was also on hand at the event.
Q and Sigmund Freud
The fluffy kitty came into Zahram's life twelve years ago when she finally decided to take the plunge and adopt a cat. She had always wanted a dog, but it was her sister's extremely well leash trained cats that ultimately inspired her to go to the kitty route. When she went to the Toronto Humane Society on that fateful day to pick out her new family member, she only had one condition: No orange kitties! Fortunately, Q had other ideas, and immediately stole her heart. She says she broke every cat rule with him, and within the first day of bringing him home he was already shopping for his own toys at the pet store, and helping her mom buy a car(?!).
Getting in some cuddles. He was so soft!
Q enjoys playing on the iPad (he once commandeered it away and went on to have a lively Facetime chat with her mother) and hanging out with BFFs R2-D2 and Sigmund Freud. Zahram tells me it was rough going when she initially brought cat-mate R2-D2 home, but by introducing them using a reward system (in which they were separated in different rooms and could only both be with her and get treats if they stopped hissing at each other and agreed to get along), they became fast friends. When I asked her how pup Sig fits into the mix, she explained that dogs and cats react to how we act, so if we treat them like they're the same (or different, for that matter), then they'll react accordingly.
Twelve years after leaving the shelter with the playful ginger kitten, the dog-loving and (formerly) orange cat hating woman wouldn't have had it any other way. In describing the unique relationship she shares with Q today, Zahram proudly gushes: "He's the love of my life!"
Thanks to Ann, Randall, Zahram, Q, Sigmund Freud, Saryn Chorney, Kelli Bender, and the entire Paw Nation team for an all-around fabulous day! Head over to pawnation.com to check out even more pics and a full recap of the pawesome event.