Catdance Film Festival is one of the coolest feline-focused events of the year. Sponsored by Fresh Step Litter, Catdance puts a spotlight on cat-centric cinema (you can watch the top five films and vote for your favorite here ), and it’s for a great cause. All proceeds from their t-shirt sales  benefit the ASPCA. And on top of all that, there’s one other reason we think Catdance is, well, the cat’s pajamas: it’s hosted by Gilles Marini. One of our favorite cat lovers, Gilles is known for his work on 2 Broke Girls and Switched at Birth, and he was recently featured in People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” issue. We caught up with Gilles to talk family, felines, and face-licks in an exclusive ASPCA interview:
ASPCA: Where and when did you get your cats?
Gilles Marini: We got our cat, Penelope, on Mother's Day last year as a present for my daughter Juliana. She’s wanted a kitty for as long as I can remember, and we thought it was the perfect day to make her a pet parent. So far, it has worked out well because she is very good at taking care of Penelope.
ASPCA: What role have pets played in your life?
GM: For as long as I can remember, I have been surrounded by pets, including cats, dogs, chickens, birds, and lizards. I grew up with a mom that loved animals and always taught us to care for them. They are so amazing and give us so much all the time. My family loves having pets and we will never change that. If you can care for an animal properly, that tells me that you are a good person.
ASPCA: Do your children enjoy interacting with your cats?
GM: My gosh, for sure! Just a few minutes ago my son asked me where Penelope is, and I believe it’s because he wants to take her into the bedroom to cuddle, not to make sure she’s inside. There is not one day that goes by without me seeing my kids playing, caring for, or interacting with Penelope. She is very, very luck for sure.
ASPCA: What have you taught your children so far about being a pet parent and cat lover?
GM: If a child knows how to care for, love, and play with their cat or pet, it shows the kind of adult he or she will be. I’ve seen it happen over and over. I teach my kids to love all living things. We are only in this world for a fraction of a second, so let’s make it count with pure love, compassion, and kindness. It’s what I believe in.
ASPCA: What is your favorite part about being a cat owner?
GM: My favorite part is playing with Penelope! She is great at hide-and-seek, and she is full of love (yes, she also sleeps quite a bit during the day). She licks my face at night when I sleep, but what can you say to that little ball of fur? She does it with love!