Her cat blog has more than 1 million followers. Now she's starting a cat convention in Rosemont.
Palatine blogger's Meow Meetup Chicago comes to Rosemont this weekend
The founder of a popular blog about cats -- that has more than 1 million followers -- is bringing her educational programs from the digital world to the real world this weekend in Rosemont.
Lauren Mieli of Palatine started The Catnip Times six years ago, and along with her legions of cat fans that read her blog, "hundreds of thousands" more visit the website. All of which convinced her to bring these cat loves together in person.
Consequently, the first Chicago area cat convention -- Meow Meetup Chicago -- takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.
It is important to note that patrons cannot bring their cats to the convention, but there will be plenty of chances to interact with cats during the two days. Of special note is the adoption lounge, where patrons can meet cats and kittens from the Elk Grove-based Almost Home Foundation.
"The convention is an extension of the blog, moving from the online world to meeting in person and celebrating cats," Mieli says. "As it is, there is no way for cat owners to connect other than online. Dog owners have dog parks, but there's nowhere for people with cats."
Meow Meetup aims to offer something for every cat lover, from activities such as kitty yoga, a cat cafe, and a cat video festival, to its many educational seminars. Some of those include clicker training, trends in feeding your cat and fear-free vet visits, to dealing with grief over the loss of a cat.
Steve Dale, the WGN-radio host and certified animal behavior consultant, will give the keynote presentation at 10 a.m. on Saturday. He calls it "Cats are the Rodney Dangerfield of Pets."
This event also includes support from the American Veterinary Medical Association and American Association of Feline Practitioners. Between them, they will provide leading veterinarians and behaviorists who will answer questions and speak on several topics.
"Mostly, this event is aimed at helping affect the lives of cats," Mieli says, "and promoting education about caring for your cats."
The event also will serve as a fundraiser, not only for Almost Home and Save-A-Pet in Grayslake, where Mieli has been a longtime volunteer, but for a variety of area pet shelters. Patrons who register online can designate a registered shelter to receive a portion of their admission proceeds.
If you goWhat: Meow Meetup Chicago, a convention for cat lovers
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 21-22
Where: Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, Rosemont
Admission: $15-$30, free for kids 5 and younger