As anyone who spends much time online knows, an awful lot of people love videos of animals.
“Animals are day brighteners,” said Laurie Cinotto of Tacoma, creator of the popular blog The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee. “It’s a stress reliever and a way to escape. You can take a moment at work and watch a kitten video, and maybe your blood pressure will drop a few points.”
Or you can go to the Lacey Timberland Regional Library on Friday night (Nov. 4) for the third annual Animal Video Festival.
Cinotto will be there — most likely with itty-bitty kitties — and so will D’argo the collie and his trainer-owner, Michael Vorkapich. D’argo is an agility dog and video star, having appeared recently on King 5’s “New Day Northwest.”
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The event will include refreshments, photo opportunities and, of course, animal videos, including three winners of the library’s first animal video contest.
Cinotto’s blog, about the kittens she fosters for the Humane Society of Tacoma and Pierce County, is even cuter than the name suggests. (Check it out at theittybittykittycommittee.com.) It’s filled with pictures and videos of kittens too little to be adopted — under 2 months old and/or less than 2 pounds.
The kittens she’s hoping to bring with her, if all goes well, are siblings, Poe and Marigold Starling. (Cinotto gives each litter a last name to help her keep track of the cats. This is the 53rd litter she’s fostered. Besides, it’s cute.)
During a phone interview Monday, Cinotto confessed to having the kittens zipped up in her hoodie. And since Poe is black and Marigold orange, they were perfect for Halloween photo shoots. Monday’s post “Cute little pumpkins” featured the duo posing and playing in a miniature barn.
She started the blog nine years ago with the idea of finding homes for the itty-bitty ones, and now has an international following.
The Itty Bitty Kitty Committee gets almost 200,000 hits a month and has spawned a book. So devoted is the audience that the blog has raised nearly $750,000 for the Humane Society.
“Last year, we had donations from 11 countries,” she said. “There’s a community that follows these kittens, and even though the Tacoma Humane Society isn’t in their neighborhood, it’s part of their world.”
If your taste in animal videos runs more to comedies than love stories, fear not.
“You’ll laugh so hard, you’ll fall off our uncomfortable seats,” the library promises on the festival’s Facebook event page.
Librarian Kelsey Smith curates the festival. “I probably end up with 65 percent funny, 25 percent cute and 10 percent educational, interesting or odd,” she said.
She prefers the funny ones.
“The experience of being in a room full of people who are all laughing at animal videos is pretty special,” she said.
“The videos bring people together,” she added. “People who don’t agree on other things can all enjoy an animal video.”
Animal Video Festival
What: The third annual festival features kitten blogger Laurie Cinotto, D’argo the collie and owner-trainer Michael Vorkapich and, of course, animal videos.
When: 7-9 p.m. Friday (Nov. 4).
Where: Lacey Timberland Regional Library, 500 College Street SE, Lacey.