by Alissa Smith
Now, we're not saying the Indy is prophetic. What we are saying is that our 2015 April Fools joke may not have been so far-fetched and may even yet come to pass, at least in some small way. Two years ago, we examined the pros and cons of a cat park with outdoor recreation for our kitty companions, which we jokingly insisted would be opening up in America the Beautiful Park. "For too long our cats have been relegated to second-class status as indoor animals, bereft of the joys of a breeze between their legs or an endangered fish between their teeth. Not anymore," the story read.
Catorado Springs — a brand new, local cat-loving collective — may not have phrased their motivation for their new monthly cat-owner meetup in such a dramatic fashion, but they are going to be bringing their feline friends, and hopefully a few more local cat-owners, together at Fountain Park this weekend.
Catorado Springs' founder, Stephanie Heupel, moved to the Springs with her boyfriend Chase McClaren only three weeks ago. A graphic artist by trade, Heupel has been exploring the city and trying to find new and creative ways to meet people with similar interests.
So Catorado Springs, and the "First Caturday" meetup came to be. Heupel and McClaren say the idea of cat-focused get-togethers isn't wholly unique. In fact, the concept for this one should be rather simple compared to Minnesota's Cat Video Festival or the larger meetup groups in Denver they've attended. They want it to be low-impact. People can bring instruments if they want to jam, or they can simply recline in the grass and let their cats roam (leashed, of course).
Balking at the concept of bringing my own ferocious fur-babies to socialize, I ask Heupel if she foresees any complications. Rather than worrying about fights breaking out, Heupel says she trusts owners to exercise their own judgment. "Everybody either has a cat that's super chill [or has] cats that will be scared or run off, so I think that'll be the interesting part of it." She adds that this isn't a locked-door event, and owners are welcome to test the waters and see how their cat enjoys the great outdoors and the company of other kitties.
"You don't have to stick around for the full three hours," she says. "Just hang out and meet other people."
While they hope the event may grow and someday include fun events like fundraisers or costume contests, for now the goal is just to get people together around mutual shared interest.
"We're cat lovers," says McClaren, "and just want to provide opportunities and get other people involved in a community based around cats."
And for those who don't, or can't, own cats? You're welcome to come to Caturday, too. Heupel says it should provide the catless among us with a much-needed "snuggle fix."
Saturday, July1. 1-4 p.m., Fountain Park, 901 E. Fountain Blvd., facebook.com/catoradosprings.