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Inside New York City’s only summer camp for cats

Gather 'round the kitty food campfire.


Gabe Bergado

Internet Culture

Posted on Jul 31, 2015   Updated on May 28, 2021, 6:11 am CDT

Are there any two more enticing words in the English language than “cat camp?”

Picture it: like summer camp, but instead of all those annoying other gremlins that pushed you into the lake or messed up your crafts hour, it’s just a bunch of kitties crawling all over you by the campfire, just waiting for your love.

Purina ONE is actually hosting a real-life Cat Camp in New York City, a place where visitors can learn about kitty wellness while participating in classic camp activities with a feline spin.

Upon entering the pop-up shop, feline enthusiasts come across a campfire made of cat food, a projected pond with swimming fish, a climbing wall, and even an area for some kitty-inspired yoga. All the while, adoptable cats from Petfinder hang out, playing at camp. They bring all comers, from spry kittens looking to jump around to the kind of older, calmer lap cat that just wants to Netflix and chill.

Gabe Bergado

“Our goal is that people will walk away feeling empowered that they understand and know how to support their cat’s whole-body health,” said Purina ONE brand spokesperson Niky Roberts. “We hope that people have as much fun here and learn as much as they can.”

You’ll have to leave your own little buddy at home, though. Visitors aren’t able to bring their own pets into the campgrounds due to safety concerns—all the cats in the space are all up on their shots and have been approved to be in an environment interacting with other feline friends. Think of it more of a summer camp for humans to come by and learn about how to ensure a healthy life for their cat.

“It’s like they’re training us,” Roberts jokes. “It’s their world, we’re just living in it.” 

Gabe Bergado

Gabe Bergado

Each of the camp activities represents a different component to a cat’s well-being. The campfire, the heart of any camp experience, is made out of cat food. The climbing wall represents a cat’s need to find high spaces—that’s why cat trees are elevated or why your own Mr. Whiskers likes climbing to the top of your bookcase.

Cat Camp comes after Purina ONE’s Cat Café pop-up shop from last year, also designed to educate guests on cat health.

Gabe Bergado

Gabe Bergado

Those who can’t make it to the physical event can watch the activities via Periscope on the pet food company’s Twitter @PurinaONECat. The schedule of shenanigans is posted on their website

The event is at 201 Mulberry Street in New York’s SoHo. Come either Friday or Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. if you want to partake in the purr-ty. 

Photos by Gabe Bergado

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*First Published: Jul 31, 2015, 3:38 pm CDT