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Feline Follies returns to Campus

 Zach Butler
A group stands with cats in celebration of the Feline Follies Cat Show. Photo: Zach Butler 

ITHACA, N.Y. – As its name satirically suggests, the Feline Follies serves as an opportunity for the community to gather and appreciate the playful, lovable and endearing foolishness of cats. The Cornell student chapter of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) recently continued the tradition, as the group hosted the annual showcase at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in late April.

The event was open to the feline-loving public, and included a packed schedule full of a variety of attractions.

 Zach Butler 
A woman with cat ears holds a young kitten at
the Feline Follies. Photo: Zach Butler 

“The goal of Feline Follies is to celebrate cats and Cornell by inviting the greater cat loving community to our school for a day of games, crafts, raffle prizes, educational opportunities and of course the chance to meet some of our community's wonderful cats,” said Chloe Pham, D.V.M. '24 in the College of Veterinary Medicine and one of the primary organizers of this year’s event.

Sofie Wilson, D.V.M. '22 and Stacy Okin, D.V.M. '22 an the College, joined Pham as event coordinators along with the rest of the AAFP Executive Board. The group collaborated with several Cornell organizations, including the Cornell Feline Health Center, the Cornell CVM Behavior Club, the Cornell CVM Veterinary Education Club, Cornell CVM SAVMA and the Cornell Capture Photography Club.

Bruce Kornreich, D.V.M. ’92, Ph.D. ’05, a veterinary cardiologist and director of the Cornell Feline Health Center, delivered a lecture focusing on feline intelligence and the psychology of how cats interact and bond with their humans. He was joined by Cornell faculty members Dr. Lena DeTar, interim director of Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program, and Kate Anderson, D.V.M. ’08, assistant clinical professor in the newly established Duffield Institute for Animal Behavior, to help administer an expert-driven question and answer session following the lecture.  

"It was wonderful interacting with cat lovers of all ages at this unique and special event,” said. Kornreich. “The student organizers did an outstanding job, and a fun and educational time was enjoyed by all.”

One highlight of the nearly two-decade old event is a relatively new addition. The Feline Follies Cat Show, which was added to the lineup just six years ago, saw six cats enter the competition and was judged by CVM faculty member Dr. Carolyn McDaniel.  This year’s winner, a cat named Mousey, won the popular vote among roughly 200 attendees to earn the title of “Miss. Catgeniality.”

 Zach Butler 
Dr. Carolyn McDaniel serves as a judge at the
Feline Follies Cat Show. Photo: Zach Butler 

“The Annual Feline Follies Cat Show is probably the fan favorite event of the day,” said Pham. “Attendees could walk around and meet the cats, and during our closing ceremony cats were crowned with

titles based on their charm and human-animal bond, among other criteria.”

The Feline Follies also served as a fundraising event, as proceeds from the day’s activities went on to support Stay Wild Rescue; a local cat and wildlife rescue based in nearby Trumansburg, N.Y. Professional pet portraits and a screening of the Netflix documentary, "Inside the Mind of a Cat," featuring Kornreich, rounded out the day’s festivities. 

“We're grateful for all of the help we received to make this event possible, and are excited to have been able to continue the tradition of hosting Feline Follies,” said Pham. “We hope that this event inspires more love and appreciation for our feline companions.”