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‘This is the best day ever’: Boston has its first ‘Caturday’

Kiki Porcello, 3, of Beverly, laid in the grass as people pet her during the first Caturday gathering.
Kiki Porcello, 3, of Beverly, laid in the grass as people pet her during the first Caturday gathering. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

Cats sat stoically in the grass on Boston Common Sunday morning, allowing themselves to be admired and photographed. Some people squealed “Kitty!” as if they’d never seen a cat before.

“This is the best day ever,” said Erin Curtin, 20, of Natick. “It is a beautiful morning and everybody is gathering as a community to pet cats. This is the epitome of positive experiences.”

It was Boston’s first “Caturday,” a popular cat meet-up that’s already arrived in other major cities, creating a communal space for feline aficionados. On Facebook, the event was called “a day to reclaim the glory of the outdoors for our feline friends.”

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Beverly resident and local organizer Kristin Leigh Porcello, 24, said she plans to continue holding Caturdays on the first Saturday of each month on the Common.

“It really was a wonderful turnout,” Porcello said.

Leashes prevented run-ins with squirrels, while dog walkers did double takes as scores of people surrounded feline faces peeking out from carriers and purses. Gizmo the cat, just shy of 30 pounds, wore a tiny sparkling hat.

His owners were bemused at the attention.

“We went and bought one of these cat strollers,” said Kristin Mills, 18, from Bedford. “People are all over him. He’s a little different. He’s super, super obese.”

Lulu the cat was hiding in her owner’s armpit. Brighton residents Charlie, 28, and Jayda, 27, Siegler named her after the restaurant in the hotel where they stayed on their honeymoon.

Lulu, the couple said, acts more like a dog than a cat.

“I’m just trying to make sure she’s having a good time,” Charlie Siegler said.

Mithu Lahiri of Jamaica Plain held a two-week-old kitten up for adoption who she and her sister hope to claim during the first Caturday gathering of cats, their owners, and cat lovers on Boston Common.
Mithu Lahiri of Jamaica Plain held a two-week-old kitten up for adoption who she and her sister hope to claim during the first Caturday gathering of cats, their owners, and cat lovers on Boston Common. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

Chemistry professor Susan Odom, 36, brought her Honey Cat. Odom found the feline outside a coffee shop in Kentucky. The cat shyly burrowed in her bag.

“I love meeting cat people and there are no good opportunities to socialize,” Odom said. “Cat people love to do the same things dog people do.”

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Alex Davis, 22, of Dorchester, said he had always wanted a cat named Jeff — and he finally got one.

“[My girlfriend’s mother] was going to give him to someone who was going to name him Mr. Whiskers,” Davis said. “I took him home in my backpack that night and I said: ‘Your name is Jeff now.’ ”

Sarah DiZio, 23, said the event countered negative stereotypes associated with cat people.

“If you have a dog, you’re an adventure person,” DiZio said. “If you have a cat, people think you’re a spinster.”

General Mao of Boston kept a watchful eye on the proceedings during the first Caturday.
General Mao of Boston kept a watchful eye on the proceedings during the first Caturday. (Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff)

Cristela Guerra can be reached at cristela.guerra@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @CristelaGuerra.