His name is Loki, [and he is] a Persian Chinchilla tabby,” Cathy Caballero proudly says as she puts Loki’s red costume on him. The costume is patterned after that of Inuyasha, a popular animé character. “Loki is one year and eleven months old. I bought him from a breeder for R7,000. I also have another cat named Kisa and two dogs: Zooey, a Shih-tzu, and Hachi, a Lhasa Apso,” pretty Cathy adds.

Loki is just one of the contestants in the ‘Kawaii Kats’ Cats and Cosplay Festival at the Sky Garden SM North Edsa, organized by Pet Express. “I spent R600 for Loki’s costume,” the de La Salle Communication Arts student says. She is also the designer of the Cat in the Philippines t-shirt. “Amber is a Persian semi-flat nose, doll face,” says Myla Tuazon, the founder of the Cat in the Philippines, a Facebook group page. “Initially, we [wanted] to diminish the discrimination against the domestic short-hair breeds or ‘puspin’. After 6 months, we now have 1,438 members worldwide,” the bubbly Computer Science student from the University of the East explains. “We share information on feline matters: health, diet, even entertainment. We want to [express our love for] our four-legged friends and [foster] camaraderie among cat lovers everywhere,” she adds. “For today’s contest, Amber will wear her 400-peso white and purple gown, [which matches] her natural bi-color blue and white. A feathered hat completes her get-up.”

Sheena Ipapo owns a Persian and Siamese crossbreed named Katty, a New Year’s gift from a friend. The Computer Science student also owns three dogs, two aspins, and one American bulldog. Also a member of the Cat in the Philippines, Sheena would have entered Katty in the contest but due to some reasons, she was unable to bring her pet cat. “She would have worn Chun Li’s [another animé character] costume,” she sighs.

As an avid cat lover, she loves to share the benefit of raw feeding. “Yes, feeding fresh meat to my cat is good; the cat’s fur is shiny, [there is] less stool, and less smell,” she laughs. The cosplay starts. The fashionable felines do not sashay down the catwalk, but are cuddled by their owners as they amble to the stage.

Colorful costumes range from those patterned after superheroes like Batman and Superman, to the royal wardrobe of England, to Frozen-inspired gowns. As the hot afternoon sun simmers down, and after the raffle, games, and a short talk from the representative of Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (CARA), the winners are announced.

Loki, one of the crowd favorites, wins. Cathy describes Loki’s costume thus: “The costume is a kimono, like a taekwondo uniform with a belt and added ribbon in front. The hair is made of yarn and glued on a baby bonnet.” Unmindful of the flashing cameras and the yelling and clapping of the appreciative crowd, Loki looks unperturbed. Truly a Kawaii Kat. Cool, cute cat.

This appeared in Animal Scene’s September 2015 issue.