Lucifer the cat. "He has a very good personality," its owner mentioned. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.

Despite some 789 human attendees on Facebook, only half a dozen cats made it out to “First Caturday @ Dolores Park” this Saturday. There were plenty of cameras, though.

Dozens of iPhones, DSLRs, and even flip phones were trained on any kitten coming out of its travel kennel, as groups of photographers flocked to every furball in sight. Cat owners sat with their beloved pets inside ever-growing circles of onlookers, who dutifully muttered “oohs and aahs.”

Nicholas Oberzire, a breeder of toygers (“toy tigers”), brought a mother and her three kittens to the park, a group that was constantly stroked and petted by eager children.

“The cats have zero aggression,” he said, speaking about his particular breed. “They’re just like dogs in their personalities. This is the first time the kittens have been out in public, and there’s been no issue so far.”

A free advertising opportunity, he stood handing out business cards to interested parties.

Another owner sat nearby with Lucifer, a gray hairless cat that was also quite popular. “He has a very good personality,” his owner said, which must have helped him with the streams of hungry photographers who fell to their knees to get a perfect shot, striking increasingly elaborate poses to do so.

Other than this central cat congregation, things were business as usual at Dolores Park. A few people practiced pilates (or something similar), drawing a small crowd of their own (one of the practitioners had cat-patterned yoga pants; anything feline will draw attention, apparently). One or two cat owners were elsewhere in the park, surrounded by their own mini-entourages of paparazzi.

But most people seemed not to know that Caturday was happening, or seemed not to care.

Unknown yet if this “First Caturday” will be a regular occurrence, but if so, it will need to boost feline attendance to live up to the hype expected by the camera-toting throngs.

In other news, the Internet will soon be flooded with more of its rarest commodity: cat pictures.

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Joe was born in Sweden, where the Chilean half of his family received asylum after fleeing Pinochet, and spent his early childhood in Chile; he moved to Oakland when he was eight. He attended Stanford University for political science and worked at Mission Local as a reporter after graduating. He then spent time in advocacy as a partner for the strategic communications firm The Worker Agency. He rejoined Mission Local as an editor in 2023.

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  1. What a stupid event. Cats are territorial and don’t like leaving their territory. Half of those cats look stressed out, shame on their owners..

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