Feline film festival hits K-W

It all started with a cat, a camera and YouTube.

Just for Cats is a Canada-wide film festival that promotes cat welfare, while entertaining on the silver screen. A juried film festival, audience members were able to watch the best cats of the Internet.

Just for cats
Screenshot from “Keyboard Cat”

On June 12, Princess Cinema played host to the festival, screening popular videos including Keyboard Cat, Nyan Cat and even the original Grumpy Cat. The videos were compiled into every sort of genre — comedy, drama, musical and even animation — all in the name of cats.

“Today is an opportunity to create better awareness for cats as pets,” said Jack Kinsch, executive director of the Animal Welfare Agency of South Central Ontario.

AWASCO oversees two humane societies in Kitchener-Waterloo and Cambridge, and brought Just for Cats to the area to help raise funds and awareness for felines.

“Cats are not perceived to have the same value as dogs so we’re really just trying to promote appreciation,” Kinsch said.

Just for Cats originated in the United States back in 2012 and since then the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies has secured the rights for Canada.

The festival was held only once before airing at the Toronto International Film Festival, and K-W was the third audience to watch the series.

The greater message of the festival went beyond watching cats playing with boxes.

According to Kinsch, there is a much larger problem these animals are facing, mostly with finding homes for a growing cat population.

“We look after 65,000 animals a year,” he said. “Out of [that] about 60 per cent of the pets are cats. 40 per cent of dogs get returned to their homes [but] in K-W we return less than 30 per cent of cats that come into the shelter.”

Last year, the K-W Humane Society had over 700 cats in foster care.

“That’s a lot of homes for us to find for cats,” Kinsch said.

The K-W community responded positively. Aside from the enthusiasm stemming from the audience, the festival was also sold out at $20 a ticket.

The funds allocated from the film festival will mainly go towards helping shelters take care of the cats.

“We’ve changed our philosophy,” Kinsch said. “Every animal that is adoptable will be found a home.”

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