The Facebook likes have cooled. The Instagram hearts feel hollow. Face it: Most people just can’t handle how great your cat is. They can’t see what you see when you watch your cat do something awe-inspiring, like shut its eyes slowly or roll over onto its back really fast. They don’t appreciate the voice you made for it inside your head. They don’t know the cute way it sneezes—well, you missed it that time, you pressed the wrong button—but here, look, she’s still doing something really cute!
No longer. With the first annual Oregon Cat Video Festival, you can screen your fur ball in front of a captive—and no doubt rapt—audience in Salem, Oregon. For a $20 fee (*stage whisper* there’s a Groupon!), you can submit your homemade cat media for competition. (The festival ticket is separate—but 20 percent goes to the Oregon Humane Society.) There will be no Lil Bub to hog the limelight, no Maru to steal your thunder. Really, the only hard rules for submission are that your video has a cat in it, is family-friendly, and has a copyright owned by you, its auteur.
Here’s what the Oregon Cat Video Festival isn’t: the Internet Cat Video Festival, which has screened for the past few years at the Hollywood Theatre. That festival started at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis in 2012, and drew 10,000 people its first year. In 2016, the art museum discontinued the festival, “to put our resources towards the remodeling of our campus including the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.” The Twin Cities’ loss is your gain, Oregon.
Nathan Marsh, the festival’s executive director, wants to replicate the success of the Walker. “We were thinking, 'Hey, we could do that over here; there’s nothing like that over here,’” he says. “Maybe we could change it up and add some different things and make it an actual festival [rather] than just a viewing of one movie.”
Indeed, Marsh has worked hard to set the stage for what he hopes will be an annual tradition. There’s a beer and wine garden and cat-related vendors. There’s a Cat Condo Kid Area and Cat Costume Acrobat Show, and before you ask me if those are actually four separate activities and I’m missing punctuation, no, I’m not. There’s Moshow the Cat Rapper, who is the most exciting Portland phenomenon to go viral since Birdie Sanders.
“We’ve got this DJ console we’re going to load up with different cat noises for the kids to play DJ Kitty Boom Boom,” Marsh says, referring another internet cat who is more famous than your cat but who will not be competing against your cat at the Oregon Cat Video Festival. “We also have some furries coming.”
So update your phone storage settings, find a piece of bread to stick over your cat’s face and make it look like they have a bread head—that is always funny—and submit today.