Photo: The Gatoteca
The Gatoteca, Spain’s first cat cafe, has organized the FESTIMIAU! festival to celebrate International Cat Day.
The festival, which runs until Sunday, offers a series of educational, informative and fun activities for cat lovers of all stripes.
Cats, whether it is Puss in Boots, the Cheshire Cat, Garfield, Tom or Sylvester, have been the victims of stereotyping for years.
One of the festival’s goals is to do away with the traditional image of cats as mysterious, unfriendly and aloof animals, showing the friendly, loyal and loving side of felines.
“In reality, their character depends on how they were handled during their first months of life. If they received love and training, they will have impeccable social conduct and be friendly,” Ariana Frances, one of the festival’s organizers, told Efe.
The festival takes a different approach than traditional feline events, such as cat shows and skills competitions.
FESTIMIAU! offers talks to spread knowledge about the cat world, craft goods for cats that contain catnip and workshops to teach children how to handle the animals.
“A cat needs two kinds of care, physical and emotional, and understanding on the part of its owner about its nature, which is more wild than that of the dog,” Frances said, adding that “once this is accepted, the animal will be very much appreciated. It is the preferred pet of Spaniards after the dog.”
The Gatoteca also serves as the headquarters of the Society for the Rescue and Adoption of Cats, or ABRIGA, which organized the festival in partnership with Sanicat, a leading producer of pet products.
International Cat Day was officially created in 2009, thanks to the efforts of cat lovers on social-networking sites, especially Facebook and Twitter, who wanted to educate people about how to correctly care for felines and promote the animals’ rights in light of abuse and abandonment.
The date marks the death on Feb. 20, 2009, of Socks, the most famous cat to live in the White House, who moved into the presidential residence with Bill Clinton’s family in 1993.
The tuxedo cat, who was adopted by first daughter Chelsea Clinton when her father was governor of Arkansas, became a media darling, with his image being used to raise money for animal shelters.
Socks went to live with the former president’s secretary, Betty Currie, when the Clintons left the White House.
Curry had Socks euthanized in 2009, when he was 19 or 20, because he was suffering from kidney problems, a thyroid condition and cancer of the mouth and jaw.