You find that you do not have the time to care for your cat 24/7. You have to travel and you have family commitments. You know that some people would like to have a cat but not 24/7. In fact, there are many timeshare cats in the country already. They are cats that travel between 2 homes and share the facilities of both homes including the food on offer. Timeshare cats are an informal arrangement. What about formalising that arrangement and putting together cat owners who no longer have the commitment or the time to care for their cat 24 hours a day with like-minded people who are yet to own a cat? Sounds ridiculous? Does it sound as if it might promote irresponsible cat caretaking? Should a cat owner even consider letting someone else care for their cat for a few days a week on a regular basis?
I suppose the idea, if one is brutally honest, might have some merit because in many countries – I am referring to places like Turkey – there are community cats. These are cats that are not formally owned as a possession but cats living within the community and who share what’s on offer by the community. You might argue that this is a preferable system. One thing is for sure which is that you eliminate the concept of ownership of a cat under the community cat system. But who takes responsibility when a cat is ill?
The interesting thing about what I’ve stated is that this is exactly what is happening in the UK right now in respect of the domestic dog. A website has started up called BorrowMyDoggy.com which puts together a dog owners with what they call “dog borrowers”. The site is pulling in 10,000 subscribers a month and they are about to launch a smart phone app. The website is a burgeoning success story and it is founded, it seems, on the increasingly busy lives of people in the modern world who own a dog and who can no longer fully commit to the responsibilities of dog ownership.
One of the two founders of this website, Rikkie Rosenlund, states that most owners can’t be with their dog 24-hour the day and a lot of these people know how happy dogs make people and they remember what it was like when they didn’t or couldn’t have won themselves.
How does the website work? Well, it appears to be a mixture of the holiday letting website “Airnb” and the dating smartphone app “Tinder”. The dog owner subscribes to the website at £35 annually and places details of their dog on the website. Visitor subscribers “favourite” dogs that they like and the dog owner is able to respond in the same way and when there is a match they can get together and make arrangements for a dog share.
Wendy Scott lives in Peckham Rye, South London with her miniature schnauzer, Alfie. She regularly finds borrowers on the website and find it very useful. Wendy is single and lives on her own so she has no one to help look after Alfie. She says that Alfie gets a real kick from new company because he has lots of energy. At the same time, Wendy says that it gives her the opportunity to take a rest.
What do you think? Do you think that right now a couple of people are setting up a similar website for cats? And if so do think it’ll take off?
Of course, there is a big difference between a dog and a cat. The have different personalities. The dog is more needy while the cat is more independent (to put it into round terms) but does this difference in personality make any difference to the potential success of this idea?