Rent A Cat

Rent A Cat

by Elisa Black-Taylor

My Annabelle's NOT for rent

My Annabelle's NOT for rent

"Thank you for calling Rent A Cat, may I help you?"

"Yes, this is Elisa Taylor. I have the weekend off and I'd like to rent Suzy for the whole weekend if she's available. She was so great the last time I rented her."

Believe it or not, readers, this could be the norm for cat lover's and cats to connect in the not too distant future.

There's already a service like this for dogs, and a thriving rent a cat business is going strong in Japan.

Cat Calico Cafe, located in Tokyo, Japan, offers those who can't own a cat because someone in the family is allergic or because of housing regulations the pleasure of enjoying a cat. Their cat rental business serves about 70 people each day during the week and 150 daily on weekends. Most of those who take advantage of the service are women.

The cats have been shampooed and brushed and made ready for paying customers who will stroke them, read to them, or just enjoy caring for a cat for a few hours with no strings attached.

I look for the rent a cat business to take off soon in the same manner as the rent a dog procedure. First applicants would be screened. Hopefully this will weed out the abusers.

The cat will be available for a time period agreed upon by the company and the individual wanting a cat. The cat will be allowed to go home with the customer. Food, water and feeding bowls and toys will accompany it. Each cat will have a microchip that tells the temperature of the surroundings to ensure it's kept in a comfortable room.

The dog concept of this service has led to repeat customers who ask for the same animal. It has also raised some concerns, which hold true regardless of the animal species.

Is it right to send a cat into unfamiliar surroundings and then bring it back to a central location? Does the cat enjoy the attention or is this an idea that would be very unsettling to a cat? I personally have had new cats hide for days and only come out for food and water when no one is around.

Some argue there's a place where people wanting to care for a cat can do it for free. Volunteer at a shelter.

Others think it's an idea whose time has come. After all, we rent everything else these days. Plus those who rent a cat can see firsthand what it's like to care for a pet. Many don't realize the time and attention necessary to make a cat happy.

This idea great alternative for those who are require to relocate frequently because of their job. There's also the option of adopting the cat should the relationship work out. Kind of a try it before you buy it concept.

But is it RIGHT? Meaning does this benefit all involved. I don't know the answer to this one. How do you all feel about this? I love the idea in general, yet I worry about the emotional consequences. The emotional health of a probably confused cat is at stake here.

Readers? Would you rent a cat? Do you like this idea? I realize most of you reading this already have a cat. Just asking....


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Rent A Cat

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Oct 19, 2011
Rent a cat
by: Rudolph.A.Furtado

Having personally visited Japanese ports a few times times including Tokyo in the 1980's/90's i was amazed at the fascination for cats among the average Japanese population.
Japanese have a problem of a lack of space, beside's the average cost of living is expensive and hence most working class Japanese find it expensive to own and maintain pet cats. Hence "Cat Cafe's" and now "Rent a Cat" type of scemes have arisen in that country.
I personally feel that cats being territorial animals aould find it extremely difficult to adjust to new "Hired Owners" or "Hired homes" in rapid scuccession.
As a owner of cats i have been able to study their behaviour and have found them be co-owners of my apartment, they own my house as much as i own them! Imagine renting my cats to strangers,an absolutely "No-No" even if i received fantastic fees for the same.
"Cat Cafe's" are more suitable since the cats would be permenantly housed in the cafe with visitors petting and pampering them but never taking them away from their "Cafe Home", their cat territory.
i am personally against the scheme of "RENT A CAT" but definitely for the setting up of "CAT CAFE'S" for people who love cats but for various reasons can't maintain them at home.

Oct 19, 2011
renting cats!!!?????
by: rat

I hope renting cats ain't gonna catch on.....poor cats won't know if dey comin or going!!

Oct 19, 2011
No not a good idea
by: Ruth

Thanks for another interesting article Elisa, this is something I'd never thought about happening.
No I don't like the idea at all as most cats don't enjoy journeys and almost all hate new places. As you say, it takes a cat a while to settle into new surroundings.
I think a rent a cat would become very unsettled and insecure and how could you be sure he was going to well treated whilst there ?
I hate it that cats are used in any way, it's not right, they deserve better.
Recently, visiting some cats who were abandoned by a 'friend' (ex friend now) and moving some of them to a different rescue centre to have a better chance of being rehomed it was obvious they were traumatised by another change of surroundings.
I think dogs adjust better than cats but I wouldn't think rent a dog would be good for dogs either.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Oct 19, 2011
I don't like the idea
by: Anonymous

I am not at all comfortable with the 'Rent a cat' concept. How awful for the poor cat! This is just another way to expose the cat to maltreatment. I really really hope that this idea does NOT catch on and I really think that it should not actually be allowed in Japan either.
Cats are living, feeling beings. My cats are part of our family, not a car or house that one rents for a time. Horrid thought!

Oct 19, 2011
Most cat not "rentable"
by: Ruth (Monty's Mom)

Most cats are territorial, only comfortable in familiar surroundings. Like Elisa says, rental cats would most likely hide under the bed. There are some cats who would probably not have a problem with changing surroundings/people. There was one at the no kill shelter near me who was super friendly and outgoing. He found a home already, by the way. I had a cat as a kid who would ride in the car with us when we went somewhere. She would have made a great rent-a-cat. At first I thought this rent-a-cat idea was good, because it could save the lives of some cats. But any cat who is so outgoing and sorry, "doglike", is going to find a home right away anyway. This wouldn't save any cats who wouldn't already have most likely found homes.

And I'd be worried about what would happen to the cat while it was on loan. Look at how rental cars are treated? When something belongs to everyone it belongs to no one, and it will not be well cared for. Another good example is how some renters trash rental properties. Landlords can tell you horror stories. But tile, carpeting, plumbing and light fixtures can be replaced. This is a living being we're talking about, and I just don't have a good feeling about it becoming a "rental property." No good can come of that.

Oct 19, 2011
off the wall
by: Elisa

I come up with some strange ideas for articles. Especially at the end of a long shift at work. I don't doubt someone will make a go of this. I never had a pet rock but I do have a troll collection. Perhaps a few Furby toys to talk to each other if someone is looking for a companion. I just think it would be too stressful for an animal, whether a dog or a cat.

Oct 19, 2011
by: Grahame

Elisa, thanks for an interesting post, one which 'makes to ponder'.

Short take: this is another step to the commodification of cats. We are reifyig all living beings and assessing their worth by means of a price tag. I think this a horrible concept, degrading to cat and human alike. Better to purchase a pet rock, or one of those highly animated mechanical ersatz cats, than what is on offer here. (Not that I advocate pet rocks and frenetic stuffed mechanical cats, mind.)

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