This is a unique, innovative idea to promote the fostering of rescue cats in the UK but it is also dubious and I regret to say I don’t think it will work and I don’t think it is based upon sound thinking.
Handy.com is an online business which makes arrangements for cleaning and handyman services including plumbers and heating engineers etc.. They promote the idea that they can act fast and send someone in quickly e.g. the next day to fix problems.
They have a smart phone app which facilitates making a booking. If you download the app they say that you can foster a cat for free. Wait a minute? Is that right?
The cat would come from a network of animal shelters managed and run by Wood Green The Animals Charity. This animal rescue organisation has teamed up with Handy with the idea that both organisations will benefit.
I just don’t see how it will work and I find it a bit bizarre to be honest. The mechanics of fostering and adoption are far more profound than employing a cleaning service. The two services don’t mix. What they seem to be suggesting is that a cleaner turns up with a rescue cat which the customer then fosters and the cleaner gets on with cleaning the apartment, house or business. Then in time, at the end of temporary fostering, the cat is adopted by the customer. That appears to be the concept.
The loose link between cleaning services and rescue cats is that rescue cats keep rodents at bay and the cleaner will clean flat. It is almost as if the customer is hiring a cat to do a job in the same way that they are hiring a cleaner to clean their premises.
It makes the assumption that there are rats and mice which need to be kept out when this is rarely the case in residential homes. It is extremely rare that a person will adopt a cat or foster care for the purpose of killing mice but perhaps Handy.com are referring to customers who have business premises in rundown buildings on industrial estates.
Also, I don’t believe you can make the presumption that all rescue cats will deter mice. A lot of cats don’t do much hunting. It is no longer in their nature. Yes, all cats will hunt but how keenly and for how long?
A further problem I see with this idea is that how will the rescue organisation check a customer of Handy.com to make sure that they are suitable as foster carers of a rescue cat? All rescue organisations carefully check out people who apply to be foster carers for obvious reasons. It takes time to check out a person. It takes a person of a special character to foster a cat. Handy.com make it clear that they are able to act fast and get a cleaner to a client the next day. I just don’t see how the system can reconcile these targets.
Linking a commercial enterprise such as Handy.com with a charity such as Wood Green ends up commercialising and devaluing rescue cats and treating them as a part of the cleaning service, it seems to me. Or am I being too negative?
Juliette Jones at Wood Green said:
“We hope that this unique service will open people’s minds to the positive impact – both practical and emotional – of having a loveable feline in residence.”
The smart phone app provides pictures of the rescued cats who can be fostered together with their history. Pete Dowds the UK manager of Handy says that the new idea came about because there are an increasing number of requests for cleaners to bring cats with them to scare away rodents.
I think this must be referring to businesses in rundown buildings or country homes. I also believe that Handy.com are of the opinion that once a customer has fostered a cat they will then adopt the cat if he/she proves to be successful in keeping rodents away.
If Handy.com see rescue cats being fostered by businesses that is not going to work. Who is going to be responsible for the cat? It is fraught with difficulties.
Mr Dowds said:
“In the past, our cleaners have been asked to bring in moggie to scare rodents, so we are delighted to take the unusual step of being able to offer foster bull felines from Wood Green.”
Marc says this new service objectifies cats. I see his point. I say it makes assumptions about the efficacy of domestic cats and tends to devalue them and is treating them as robots almost. It takes time and effort to foster a cat. There is human-to-cat bonding involved. You can’t just put them to work immediately as they are trained workmen. Are people looking for a cleaner going to be in the right frame of mind to foster and then adopt a cat?
What do you think?