A stellar fur-mament of famed felines joins celebrated animal rescue advocate Hannah “The Kitten Lady” Shaw as special guests, during the first annual Catsbury Park Cat Convention, going on in and around Convention Hall this weekend, April 7 and 8.
Published in The Coaster, April 5, 2018
“Cats are in vogue,” declares Dean “DJ” Bornschein, speaking on a recent sunny afternoon just prior to yet another late-season snuggler of a coastal storm. “The 21st century is the century of the cat.”
While there are those in this passionately pooch-friendly city of Yappy Hours and canines-OK café tables who may sit up and beg to differ, there’s no denying that the age of fun-size digital cameras and globe-conquering social media platforms has elevated many examples of the domesticated CAT from hairball-producing homebodies, to internationally famous, instantly recognizable household names.
With that fact in mind — and with the mewy momentum generated by his recent opening of the Garden State’s first full-fledged “cat café” — Bornschein gets set to mark the town’s territory on behalf of all purry pets and their personal assistants, during this weekend’s first annual Catsbury Park Cat Convention.
Going on in and around Convention Hall and the Paramount Theater — an area where not so very long ago a community of feral felines made its home beneath the former Howard Johnson’s — the two-day affair looks to be the biggest such event on the east coast; a happening that boasts dozens of vendors of cat-centric products and services, plus info tables sponsored by animal rescues and other nonprofits, an on-premises SPCA adoption center, an art show, special guest speakers, games, activities, and of course a furry firmament of stellar celebri-cats, there and at the Asbury Hotel.
It’s an A-list collection of red-carpet clawers highlighted by Li’l Bub, the one-of-a-kind, uniquely adorable “most amazing cat on the planet” whose journey from feral-runt rescue to viral-views sensation is the stuff of legend. She’s joined by Nala, the Guinness-record “most famous cat on Instagram,” as well as fellow fame kitties Pudge (“the girl with the mustache”) and Klaus (loyal sidekick to the late Oskar the Blind Cat). Representing the homegrown talent are Oriental shorthairs Teddy and Dexter, of Monmouth County’s own Hobbikats Cattery.
Two-legged guests abound as well, with the Paramount Theater hosting a pair of special talks (on kitten care, and the Trap-Neuter-Return [TNR] approach to feral population control) by rescue advocate and self-proclaimed “neonatal kitten warrior” Hannah “The Kitten Lady” Shaw, for which tickets are sold separately from the convention’s general admission. She’s joined by TNR specialist “Paul the Cat Guy,” and internet/ meme maven Amanda Brennan, in featured events that are accessible by GA ticket.
Proceeds from the weekend help to fund the ongoing operations of Catsbury Park, the Bornschein-owned nonprofit storefront dessert café and adoption center that opened last year on the fast-morphing “arts bloc” of 708 Cookman Avenue. Also designated as beneficiaries are two of the sources from which the café receives its resident cats — the Tinton Falls-based Associated Humane Societies of NJ, and the Jersey Shore Animal Foundation — in addition to Asbury Boardwalk Rescue, the Brodie Fund of Rumson, the Camden County Animal Shelter, and Paul the Cat Guy’s NYC-based organization.