With a police-escorted motorcade fit for a foreign ambassador or an A-list Hollywood star, viral internet star Grumpy Cat rolled into Berkeley in style Saturday afternoon.
Hundreds of fans waited outside Berkeley Humane at 2700 9th St. to catch a glimpse of Grumpy Cat, who has a permanent scowl on her face and millions of fans on social media. Tucked in the arms of her owner, Tabatha Bundesen, Grumpy Cat oversaw the ribbon-cutting ceremony of Berkeley Humane’s new mobile adoption center.
Following the ceremony, Grumpy Cat held a private photo session with her fans. Tickets for an up close and personal were reserved long before Saturday. The opportunity to take a photo of Grumpy Cat — or with, for the lucky fans who registered for the photo session in time — drew residents from beyond the Bay Area.
“To introduce more people to the mobile adoption center and Berkeley Humane, it makes you feel good,” said Shannon Murphy, a resident from Novato.
To commemorate her second published book “The Grumpy Guide to Life,” Grumpy Cat began the #GrumpyTownUSA competition to decide what city she will visit as a part of her book tour. Berkeley Humane launched a successful campaign to bring the feline sensation to Berkeley, with help from city hall, the chamber of commerce and the police department.
City Councilmember Linda Maio and Berkeley Chamber of Commerce CEO Polly Armstrong welcomed Grumpy Cat to Berkeley prior to the christening ceremony. Also in attendance at the event were several local businesses, including Whole Foods, which served snacks and drinks, and Wag Hotels, a San Francisco-based pet hotel.
The mobile adoption center will be touring around Berkeley starting this year after making its debut in an adopt-a-thon last September, according to Berkeley Humane marketing manager Sherry Liu.
Despite suffering severe fire damage in 2010 that killed 15 cats and caused $1.5 million in damages, Berkeley Humane has continued to grow its adoption numbers. In 2014, Berkeley Humane set a record 1,030 adoptions.
With Grumpy Cat attracting new fans and the new mobile adoption center making pet adoptions easier, Berkeley Humane has hope they will outdo the adoption numbers from last year.
“Maybe those who came out to see Grumpy Cat can leave here with a cat of their own,” Liu said.
Seung Y. Lee is a journalist who has previously worked at the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and the Daily Californian.
Viral Internet star Grumpy Cat comes to Berkeley (01.23.15)
A year after a fire, Berkeley animal shelter lands on its feet (05.16.11)
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