The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Brace yourselves, cat lovers. Meow DC is a new festival for feline fanatics.

Sunglass Cat is one of the event's biggest stars. (Karen McGill) (Karen McGill)

From yappy hours to Chihuahua races, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting some kind of dog-focused event in D.C. That’s why Emily Miller, director of special events for the Humane Rescue Alliance, decided to create Meow DC, an annual festival for feline fanatics — one where ticket proceeds will go toward the alliance’s mission of helping homeless pets.

“Meow DC is a place for cat people to get together and celebrate all things cat,” Miller says of the inaugural event, which will be held Saturday at Dock 5 at Union Market. “It’s also going to be the largest cat adoption event in the region.”

Vehicles are trucking in more than 100 adoptable cats to the Dock 5 parking lot because the venue doesn’t allow cats indoors. The specialized RVs have big windows that allow people to see the cats from outside. If you want some one-on-one time with a particular cat, you’re welcome to step inside, Miller says.

Booths just outside the venue’s entrance will house Meow DC’s two celebrity cats — Sunglass Cat and Coco the Couture Cat. An Instagram star with over half a million followers, Sunglass Cat will be taking pictures with fans for $15, which will go to the alliance. Coco, a Cornish Rex who gets around in a pink “Catillac,” will be paw-tographing copies of the book “The Adventures of Coco le Chat: The World’s Most Fashionable Feline.”

With all the felines relegated to the parking lot, what’s inside the event? A veritable meow-tain of activities, Miller says.

“Come walk the exhibit floor and learn all about things like kitten season and fostering, the D.C. cat count, and how to create an outdoor cat shelter,” she says. “We’ve got a whole corner with activities dedicated to child cat enthusiasts, with a face-painting booth, two photo booths and a cat ear headband-making station.” There’ll also be a vendor area featuring purr-veyors of cat art, cat books, cat zodiac keychains and other products for cats and their humans.

Meow DC has basically everything a cat person could ever want, but it’s not a suitable place for your pets.

“Please do not bring your cats,” Miller says. “You can tell them all about it when you get home.”

Dock 5, Union Market, 1309 Fifth St. NE; Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m., $40-$45.