Cat lovers and owners in the Tri-Valley, get ready to enter metaphorical kitty paradise this weekend as the Pleasanton Cat Extravaganza and Rescue Awareness Event is set to take place at the Alameda County Fairgrounds on Sept. 9-10.
Curated and hosted by Loving Cats Worldwide, the cat show will feature five different feline contests including kitten class, junior class, adult class, pedigree neutered and spayed, and household pets. Residents can enter their cat while buying their tickets.
Founder and CEO of Loving Cats, Steven Meserve, told Livemore Vine that after having been a licensed judge with The International Cat Association -- which is considered the world's largest genetic cat registry and one of the world's largest sanctioning bodies for cat shows -- for so long, he wanted to do his own cat show.
One that was more entertaining and accessible to all ages, but that also raised awareness to any issues happening in the feline world.
"Our purpose, obviously, is to increase the visibility of all cats worldwide but our idea is to really kind of hit a new younger generation and get people interested, get people excited about it," Meserve said. "I would say 95% of the people that come ... to our events have never even known this world existed."
He said he wanted to not only create a more inclusive space for cat shows, he wanted to incorporate education for rescues and improve the overall visibility of the overpopulation issues that the state is grappling with in terms of strays that are not getting spayed and neutered.
"This is a breed show, sure, but our No. 1 priority is to increase the visibility of all cats and to make sure that everybody understands that we do have a problem," Meserve said. "The problem with California, and a lot of these warmer client climates, is that cats are having kittens the entire year ... it doesn't just happen in the spring."
That's why when Meserve launched the for-profit Loving Cats company back in June 2022, he also wanted to create a nonprofit foundation that would work alongside Loving Cats, which he did -- The Meserve Foundation.
The foundation, while also very young, receives portions of the ticket money made by the cat extravaganza shows, including the one coming up in Pleasanton, with the overall goal of raising awareness for the cat rescue population.
Meserve said he hopes one day he could use those charity funds to donate to natural disaster situations, create a kids scholarship program and help fund pet spaying and neutering clinics, which are in big demand given the overpopulation issues.
"The foundation's ethos really is to promote education ... to really kind of change the mindset on how important it is for people to spay and neuter their cats," Meserve said. "We actually have the ability to make a massive impact with the amount of visibility that we have."
"The amount of publicity and the amount of visibility that I personally have, and we as an organization have just in one year ... we should be able to make a massive impact," he added.
And according to Meserve, the Loving Cats exhibition has been gaining a lot of attention just in this past year having had shows in the United Kingdom, all over the United States, South America, Asia, Philippines and Japan.
"In that one year we've produced 25 shows on four different continents. So it was obvious that the world needed this, that they were interested in it," he said. "I knew what could be done and now we're really in our second year and we're starting to dial things up."
Another aspect of the show that Meserve wanted to point out was that he is aiming to bridge the gap between the breeding world and the adoption world by having multiple rescue organizations at each of the shows.
At the Pleasanton show, East Bay SPCA, along with about eight to 10 other animal rescue organizations, will be there in order to make sure the public is aware of the overwhelming pet rescue situation.
"Any rescue that we can get, they can come free-of-charge and they have the ability to really market their rescues," he said. "Some rescues will actually have kittens there or cats there. Some will not. It just depends on the rules and the regulations and how they do business."
The show will also feature educational presentations, a catwalk fashion show and a best of show for all of the top cats.
One thing that Meserve said was particularly special about the show is that anybody can bring their cat to enter the show during the household cat contests. He said having household cats that are not pedigree cats makes the show that much more intimate and engaging.
He added that sometimes rescue cats that the organizations bring in are entered into that contest and even adopted thanks to that.
And at the end of the day, even if you don't bring a cat or adopt a cat at the show, Meserve said his main goal is to just entertain and educate.
"Our exhibitors, or breeders, are very welcoming," he said. "We all share the same kind of goal ... if someone has a premeditated 'Oh, I've been to a cat show, it was really terrible and the people were really mean,' like, we're completely not that."
The shows start at 10 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 9-10) at the fairgrounds in Pleasanton. People can purchase tickets and enter their cats at the Loving Cats Worldwide website at www.lcwwgroup.us.