Rent A Cat
by Elisa Black-Taylor
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....