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Edmonton International Cat Festival returns for 10th anniversary ‘pawty’

A paw-sitively purr-fect festival for Edmonton cat lovers is returning for another year of supporting felines in need.

The Edmonton International Cat Festival, believed to be Alberta’s biggest and Canada’s longest-running cat festival, will hold its 10th anniversary celebration on Saturday at MacEwan University in the city’s downtown.

Festival organizer Amanda McCloy said thousands of people are expected to attend this year’s event.

“It’s for anyone who loves cats and would love to come out and be around other people who love cats,” she said.

“When we started, we had a few hundred people coming out. This year, we’re expecting to have over 3,000 people.”

Since 2014, the festival has raised $146,000 to help stray cats find fur-ever homes and manage the wild cat population.

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This year’s proceeds will go to Community Cats Edmonton, Enoch Animal Services and Greater Edmonton Animal Rescue Society (GEARS).

McCloy said the festival is important because there aren’t a lot of social events specifically for friends of felines.

“There’s lots of social activities you can do if you’re a dog lover — but as cat people, we really only had cat videos and no community to participate in,” she said.

“So (our) cat festival was the first in Canada and the longest running.”

Click to play video: 'Edmonton International Cat Festival returns'

Edmonton International Cat Festival returns

One of the event’s main sponsors is Cheery Cat Co., a specialty cat boutique that opened in Edmonton in 2023, which provided funding for the celebrity cats to come to town.

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Owner Angela Wong said her company also partners with Community Cats Edmonton to provide homes for stray cats.

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“Since opening in August, we have adopted out 43 kittens,” she said.

“It’s something that we’re very proud of and we’re happy to partner with cat fest this year to continue to increase that adoption rate.”

Along with various events from feline first aid to crafting with cat hair, McCloy said attendees will also get to meet with  several cats that are famous on social media: One Eared Uno, BenBen and Great Grams of Gary.

The three celebrity cats have garnered a mass following online.

James Eastham, social media manager for Great Grams of Gary and Gary’s owner, said he and his cat that live in Canmore have been attending the festival for five years.

He said it’s a grand celebration of the cat community in Alberta.

“It’s always nice to meet other people who love cats and meet some curious fans, and it’s great that it gives back to the community as well,” Eastham said.

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Eastham said his partner adopted Gary from the Calgary Humane Society five years ago. Much like his partner’s dog at the time, Gary is also missing his left hip.

It was fate, he said.

Since then, Eastham has taught Gary to walk with a harness, allowing him to hike, pedal and even ski across Alberta and British Columbia.

“We’ve been quite a lot of places together,” Eastham said.

McCloy said she is looking forward to what she calls an “ameowzing” event.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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