As animal lovers interested in all the latest pet and pet travel trends, the PetRelocation team is always curious about the pet presence at SXSW—one of the biggest tech conferences in the world.
Each year a few Interactive panels embrace animal-related topics (usually in the form of cat videos and social media), and side parties often feature pet guests of honor to drum up attendance and publicity for various start-ups and brands.
So, what's going on in 2015? Here's a rundown of pet-related events at SXSW this year.
Official SXSW Panels:
'Cat'astrophe: Good, Bad & Ugly of Internet Cats—Despite their online popularity, do cats get less care and respect than dogs in the real world? Bryan Kortis of PetSmart Charities and Jackson Galaxy, a cat behaviorist, discuss the lives of cats in today's well-meaning but often very flawed world. This panel is open to Interactive, Gold and Platinum badge holders. (Monday, March 16, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Animal Planet's Next Cat Star Party—Here's a chance to hang out with the next big cat reality star (because that exists, of course) and vote on your favorite finalists while partying with fellow cat lovers and Austin 80s cover band The Spazmatics. This event is open to Interactive, Gold and Platinum badge holders. (Sunday, March 15, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.)
GIS Mapping: Using Technology to Save the Lives of Dogs and Cats—Presenters from the ASPCA will discuss how advances in technology can help lower euthanasia rates and alleviate pet homelessness. This panel is open to Music, Interactive, Gold, Platinum badge, and Artist wristband holders. (Tuesday, March 14, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.)
VodkaforDogPeople: Matchmaking a Business Heart—Two Austin businesses, Tito's Handmade Vodka and Emancipet, have forged an unlikely but strong and mutually beneficial partnership that relies on a love of pets. Reps from each company, Beth Bellanti and Amy Mills, will tell you all about it. (This panel is open to Interactive, Gold and Platinum badge holders. (Monday, March 16 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)
Events Involving Pets:
Mophie Rescue: If you find your phone battery can't quite keep up with the constant texting and Twitter-checking that SXSW demands, maybe a dog can save you. Festival folks are invited to tweet at @Mophie and, if you meet the designated requirements (phone life and location), a St. Bernard will come to your rescue with a phone charger. Sounds pretty gimmicky, but at least the dogs are adoptable? (Ongoing)
PetRelocation's Yappy Hour—Of course we have to mention our own party! We're inviting pet lovers to stop by for some puppy playtime on Friday and quality cat time on Saturday (all furry friends are up for adoption with Austin Pets Alive!) along with free beer, a photo booth, swag and more. Find out more and RSVP here. (Friday, March 13, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, March 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Haus of Bacon—Grumpy Cat is returning to SXSW for the third year in a row and will be appearing at a “one-of-a-kind art gallery that includes a team of celebrity cats.” This blessed event will take place at 200 N. Congress and is free and open to the public. (Saturday, March 14, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 15, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
Did we miss any? Some side parties might be dog-friendly (note that ours is not), but we suggest considering your pet's comfort and safety before bringing them to a crowded or loud event. Have fun, everyone, and we hope to see you at SXSW!