“A cat tour? People hold onto their cats for people to see?!” my brother Robert texted me from an Amtrak train, on his way from Milwaukee to the Twin Cities, far away from the Wedge LIVE! Cat tour as it was happening. “Please send more photos. I’m so jealous.”

As my brother followed along via photos, the Wedge neighborhood turned into a roaming cat party as hundreds of people participated in the Wedge LIVE! Cat Tour Wednesday night. John Edwards, Wedge resident and the hyperlocal journalist behind Wedge LIVE!, led people on a planned route of 22 cat homes.

People cheered and clapped as cat owners held up their cats from front stoops and second floor windows. “Bonus cats” were added to the tour along the way when cat owners realized a cat tour was happening in their neighborhood or cats just happened to be in windowsills.

Trinket, a three-legged cat, was registered for the tour by her owner Jonathan after he learned about the tour last year. Jonathan told his neighbor, Anna, about the tour and she propped open her apartment door for her cat Charlie, becoming one of the crowd-favorite bonus cats.

“I just thought I'd run up and grab him,” Anna said. “And now he has a lot of admirers. So, he's famous.”

Charlie, a bonus cat on the tour, sits in the doorway of his apartment building. His across the street neighbor, Trinket, was represented by chalk prints on the sidewalk. Photos by Melody Hoffmann

According to the official tour roster, the tour had cats aging in range from 12 years to 11 months. A house along the route had a photo of a former cat tour participant, Princess Pickles, who passed away a few months ago.

A photo of Princess Pickles, a former cat tour participant. “She hated it,” said one of her owners about being hoisted into the air and shown to the crowds during the initial years of the cat tour. Photo by Melody Hoffmann

Many people on the cat tour said they appreciated the event for the community-building aspect.

“We feel good. It's okay to be a nerd. We're silly,” Susan Lynx said, with a pair of binoculars around her neck. Why the binoculars? “Because I take this shit seriously. I didn’t want to have to crowd in.”

John Edwards, host of the Wedge LIVE! Cat Tour, talks to the crowd before the tour starts on June 26 at Mueller Park. Susan Lynx (back right) stands with her binoculars. Photo by Melody Hoffmann

As I walked along with the tour, I ran into Will Schroeder, an improv actor with Wedge's HUGE Theater and a first-time cat tour attendee. He said the event made him feel great about his neighbors.

“It’s an affirming feeling to be with a bunch of people who are your neighbors, just enjoying something together that is harmless,” Schroeder said before he darted off to see another cat. “Oh boy, that’s a really good cat.”