Cats in Fables, Fairytales and Festivals

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Patrick Roberts

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Two Other Cat Festivals

[ 'Other' in view of the Ypres Cat Festival or Kattenstoet, described separately ]

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Cat'n Around Catskill

Since the summer of 2007 the village of Catskill in New York State has held a rather unusual kind of cat festival, a street art exhibition which they called Cat'n Around.

Cats arrive in Catskill from Chicago ahead of the Cat'n Around festival Cats in waiting at Catskill The idea is that decorated, larger-than-life feline busts are placed along main downtown village streets. They are available from about February, when the unadorned busts arrive from Chicago where they are made, until June when the festival opens, for artists to embellish and decorate in whatever style they please, producing an array of capricious, whimsical and fantastical cat figures. There are some very imaginative designs, as illustrated by the few examples shown here from earlier years; and a full gallery of all 50 of the 2014 designs, with their names, is at Victoria Chewens Photography. By 2023 the number had increased to 65, which can all be found here.

Glitz and Glamurr, Cat'n Around 2007 Pussy Willow, Cat'n Around 2008 Americat, Cat'n Around 2008 Phil the Philatelic Cat, Cat'n Around 2008 Cat'n Hook, Cat'n Around 2008 Crazy Quilt Cat, Cat'n Around 2008

A YouTube clip shows the cats in their positions in the town during the first festival back in 2007, and gives a good idea of the size of the statues and their variety. Images of many of the 2007 cats in situ, and well photographed, are also here.

After adorning the Catskill streets throughout the summer, the festival culminates in a live auction of the cat figures at a 'Cat's Meow Auction and Gala' held in the autumn, for which tickets are sold. Proceeds benefit local non-profit organisations, and also provide a scholarship for a graduating student from Catskill High School to further his or her education in the arts. To give an example, the 2008 event was sold out and 30,000 dollars was put back into the community from the proceeds, the highest figure paid for a single cat a that time being 4,500 dollars.

Details of Cat'n Around are at the HOCA website. The best way to follow the action, though, is via the active and current Facebook page, which has a lot of information and images of the cats in situ. It's well established as an annual event, with 2024 marking the 18th Cat'n Around Festival.

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Moon Cat Festival in Spain

For six years from 2006 a Moon Cat Festival was held in Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava in Spain, for a week around late February to the beginning of March, under the auspices of the Cat Museum (Casa de los Gatos).

Moon Cat Festival, Lloret de Mar, Spain These festivals did look to be really fun and colourful events, although they weren't like the festival at Ypres where people just go to watch. Rather, people were expected to take an active part in them, with a fancy-dress parade and competition, dancing, karaoke and other activities for the really keen cat lover! They were run as week-long package holidays, and only those on the holiday could participate; most of the activities were not open to the general public, although it seems that anyone could join in the parade through the town in fancy dress. Also, part of the programme involved an excursion for 3 nights to Madrid, Barcelona, or one of two destinations in France, although participants could choose to remain in the Lloret de Mar hotel instead and make local trips if they so wished.

There seem to have been no further festivals since 2011; maybe there was insufficient support. There's a short video of parts of the 2011 event at YouTube.

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Our featured feline at the head of the page: it was with great regret that I decided to let Pushkin be 'put to sleep' early in 2006, following intractable health problems, a gloomy prognosis and a much diminished quality of life. He was a 'rescue cat' of uncertain age, but I would guess 12 years or more. He will be remembered with great affection as a cat with perfect manners: a gentle soul who seemed even more inscrutable than the average feline. There's a small tribute to him here.

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