My Favorite Things at Global Pet Expo
From kittens to quests, here are some of my favorite moments from Global Pet Expo 2019 in Orlando, Fla.
I brushed past the castle ramparts, hardly seeing them. My eyes were fixed on the summit of the imposing mountain in front of me. Thunderclouds swirled around its peak. Lightning rent the air. I was determined to make my way around the mountain, and, luckily, I was not alone. Uncle Snug, a trusty bard, would lead the way.
No, I wasn’t a character in a Monty Python movie—although I half expected Uncle Snug to hand me a Holy Hand Grenade at the outset of our journey. The mountain was the Mountain of Anxiety, and the quest was the Quest for Calm. For those of you who didn’t make it to aisle 3200 at Global Pet Expo, I’m referring to the medieval extravaganza that was the new Thunderworks booth.
Uncle Snug sang and strummed his way around the booth (er, mountain), highlighting, via rhyming verse, the company’s products and how they work together to calm pets.
The new ThunderCloud, which emits soothing sounds and all-natural essential oils, was on display and introduced with the following lines sung by Uncle Snug:
You’re now well equipped
But if you’re still wary
Visit the old lady
She’s an apothecary
She has essential oils
That calm as you sniff
You don’t seem to believe me
Here, take a whiff …
Booths like Thunderworks’ show just how fun the pet industry can be, and I enjoyed strolling the show floor and taking in manufacturers’ ingenuity and enthusiasm, which was apparent in many of the booth designs.
Kittens Were Everywhere
Any cat lover who has been to Global Pet Expo more than a couple of times knows that they can get their feline fix at the Hagen Group’s Catit playground. But this year’s trade show was a veritable kitten bonanza, from the Bengal kittens at the Dr. Elsey’s Cat Products booth to the Treatibles pop-up cat cafe featuring adoptable kittens from the Orlando Cat Cafe. The Hill’s Pet Nutrition booth featured a sphynx in a snazzy sweater and a fuzzy orange-and-white kitten, both giving out high-fives to passersby. (For treats, obviously. No self-respecting cat would high-five a human just for the heck of it.) And while dogs are a dime a dozen at Global Pet Expo, I have to admit I was rather impressed by the dog on the other side of the Hill’s booth that was engaged in a game of double Dutch.
As I was walking the floor the last day of the show, foot sore and missing my own cat, I thought, “One can only pet so many kittens.” And then I heard the heart-piercing cry of a very young kitten. It was a two-week-old being bottle-fed by a volunteer from The Pixel Fund, a rescue group with a satellite office in Florida. While the kitten was too young to be pet by a stranger, I was content to sit quietly beside it and admire its perfect, tiny claws and bright eyes.
Old Friends and New Faces
I spend most of my time as an editor for Pet Product News sitting in front of a computer, typing away, so it’s always a treat to step out from behind my desk and actually go somewhere and talk to people. Global Pet Expo is like a yearly high school reunion. I get to catch up with old friends who I rarely see in person and find out what they’ve been up to, and I meet new people. My favorite thing is when I hear someone say my name and I turn around to see an unfamiliar face, only to realize that I’m actually looking at someone I’ve known for months or even years—I’m just meeting them in person for the first time.
Alas, there are always a few friends I somehow miss in all the hustle and bustle of the show. To these, I say: I’ll see you at SuperZoo!
Carrie Brenner is senior editor for Pet Product News International. She has spent several years researching new products with the help of her cat, Amelia.