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America’s Family Pet Expo Does It Again


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This year’s America’s Family Pet Expo, held at the Orange County Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., April 28-30, drew more than 47,000 attendees.

The show is one of my favorite events of the year, and not just because it is a quick drive down the freeway. I love America’s Family Pet Expo because it is all about fun. Want to pet a baby goat? View a pigeon with whorls of feathers so intricate it looks like it is wearing an elaborate party dress? Visit a petting zoo exclusively containing tortoises? Bet on a miniature pot-bellied pig race? Bounce around on the bungee trampoline, down a large cherry lemonade and Philly cheese steak, and then walk on water in a human-size hamster wheel? (Me neither, but that didn’t stop other people.) You can do all of that, plus have your face painted and eat various appalling concoctions, such as the bacon-wrapped churro, and experience many different breeds of dogs and cats besides. You can also buy your pet everything it ever wanted, or adopt your next five cats.

While the show’s main events and attractions have not changed a lot in the past few years, I always spot something interesting. Last year, Lucy Pet Products of Thousand Oaks, Calif., was hard to miss with its 75-foot-long Gnarly Crankin’ K9 Wave Maker featuring surfing dogs. For 2017, the company managed to top last year’s debut by adding surfing dogs that do tricks while riding the waves—such as catching Frisbees and popping balloons—and a surfing cat.

New to this year’s event was the Moon Cat Café, which owner Janet Pao said she believes is the world’s first-ever mobile cat café. Visitors to the renovated step van, which services Los Angeles County and Orange County, can enjoy gourmet coffee and pastries while visiting with adoptable cats. The van also features an impeccably curated selection of cat-themed merchandise from independent artists.

Due to fierce objection from my cat, I did not leave America’s Family Pet Expo, which emphasizes the benefits of adoption, with a new pet. However, lots of people did—more than 500 pets found new forever homes thanks to the event. I’m hoping the spunky little cats I met in the Moon Cat Café, courtesy of Zoey’s Place Rescue, are among them.

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.

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