SEATTLE -- A convention of cat lovers from Australia to Miami rode the Duck in Seattle, sharing cat tales and kitty pics. They wore kitty bling, carried cat phones, painted paws on their fingernails, and admitted they're obsessed.
The cat connection came through John Bartlett, who fosters kittens for the Purrfect Pals cat shelter in Arlington. He decided to set up a web cam to keep tab on the tabbies, and see what the cats were doing when he wasn't around to watch.
The livestream shows cats sleeping, eating, rolling -- typical uneventful cat stuff. Bartlett decided if he is entertained watching the foster kittens, why not share that? His kitty cam connected feline fanciers from around the world who do cat chats.
"I can have 800 people watching kittens sleeping for hours," Bartlett said.
He went from two people watching to more than 20,000 after People Magazine posted a link to his site. If you Google "foster kitten cam," you'll quickly find cuddly kittens by Foster Dad John, as his followers fondly call him. His goal was garnering more attention for Purffect Pals and its fostering program. It's working.
Robyn Anderson traveled to the Arlington cat shelter from Perth, Australia. She watches the kitty cam and fosters cats back home but wanted to meet the other foster families she's come to know through the web cam chats.
"This is a world-wide problem, not just in the United States," she said.
Anderson said it was important to travel that far to spread that message, that cats need foster homes and responsible owners who spay and neuter.
Bartlett says every cat he's featured on his kitty cam has been adopted. That's nearly 200 since 2011. Saturday some of those pet owners will be showing off their cats at the Average Joe Cat Show in Edmonds. It's a fundraiser for Purrfect Pals and runs from 10 to 3 at the Spartan Recreation Center in Shoreline.
Purrfect Pals encourages animal lovers to help them win a $10,000 grant by voting for them in the animal rescue site's Shelter Challenge. Voting runs through June 29th.