Cats are a home’s visible soul:
I love cats because I love my home and after a while they become its visible soul.
– Jean Cocteau
This is true, cats add a sense of warmth and friendliness to a home. Nowadays many pet stores are large facilities with acres of space. There are pets for sale such as hamsters and rabbits etc., tons of food and toys piled high in a cavernous space. They are functional, efficient warehouses without a soul.
All you have to do is add a cat from a local shelter to add the missing ingredient. Assign an employee from each shift to take care of the cat. Voilà, you have a functional facility that has character and warmth. Cats sell products. People who go to pet stores are interested in animals. A cat who has made a pet store his home is an attraction for customers. He is a topic of conversation and when a customer converses with a sales assistant a connection is made between customer and business. Good for sales and so is the fact that a big business is caring for a cat. This is an excellent promotion. It shows the business cares about animals.
On the basis that there are about 15,000 pet stores in the USA, if every store adopted a cat it would mean that 15,000 unwanted cats were then wanted and useful as well.
It is all but impossible to to find out how many pet stores there are in the USA. I am not sure that my figure is correct. However, the two top businesses: Petsmart and Petco between then have getting on for about 2,500 stores between them.
In the UK the pet stores that look somewhat like the US stores are Pets at Home. They are warehouse facilities. Graham is a wandering ginger and white cat who likes to visit the Pets at Home store in Lincolnshire everyday starting 6 am. He waits to be let in.
At first, I am sure the management were reluctant to let him in but now their spokesperson says:
“I don’t know what I’d would do without him now”.
Sales are up. He likes meeting customers, looking at the fish, diving into the toys section and generally having a good time. Customers are having a good time too.
It does not matter if the management like cats or not. Just make a decision on business grounds. There are benefits for the staff too. Employees at pet stores must like companion animals and some will like cats and enjoy looking after a cat. It could be built into their duties.
Think of the great publicity if Petsmart announced that they were going to install one cat per store. Someone will now tell me that it is illegal to do that in the USA under some remote health and safety legislation. I hope not. It’s a nice idea.
No. 10 Downing Street, the office of the UK’s Prime Minister has a resident cat. Many bookshops have a resident cat. Some warehouse have resident cats. It is not an exceptional idea.