UberKITTENS for National Cat Day …?

Someone over at Uber has either had a stroke or a stroke of marketing genius.

In honour of National Cat Day, they’re offering to bring shelter kittens to your office in over 50 cities in North America so you and your colleagues can have a playdate. It’s $30 — what they’re calling a “snuggle fee” — for 15 minutes of adorableness which helps support shelters in your area. Between 11 am – 3 pm, you can turn your workstation into a purrstation. And all kitties are up for adoption.

“If you’re lucky enough to request kittens to your office, please make sure your boss or building is going to be cool with the meows and that no one in the area is allergic. Also, having a dedicated room for kitten playtime is preferred,” their website says.

Someone over at Uber is getting a raise because UberKITTENS it’s a monster idea that’s got Twitter abuzz and 9-to-5ers actually excited about working through lunch. Raising awareness for shelter cats is always a good thing, and providing stipulations like having a safe room to play and ensuring your officemates are cool with it displays requisite corporate responsibility.

But here’s the thing. Kittens don’t need marketing, and they certainly don’t need the stress of being moved. If kept in the shelter, they’ll be adopted within a week. Carting them off to office buildings around the continent boasting that they’ve “helped over 30 kittens find their forever homes through UberKITTENS” is a little self-aggrandizing. But then, it’s all about marketing, isn’t it? National Cat Day is, after all, sponsored by Petco.

Offering free rides to animal shelters in select cities and/or providing photos and videos of shelter cats in your cars are just two simple yet truly meaningful ways that Uber could enact corporate humanitarianism on this day. At the very least their office visits should be accompanied by photos and video of older cats in the shelter that could be matched with potential adopters who could then visit the shelter for a full screening.

Plus, it’s one thing to develop a crush on a fuzzy, purring, 2-pound ball of curious love on your desk, and quite another to take them to the vet for their UTI or watch them destroy the couch or clean up their urine when they stress-peed or pay thousands for the foreign body obstruction because they swallowed your jewelry or deal with them scratching the kid who keeps stepping on their tail. Those who make knee-jerk decisions to adopt on the spot may be more likely to return their cat to the shelter at the first sign of a problem they didn’t sign up for.

Adopting an animal is like adopting a human child. There are physical, psychological, emotional and behavioural issues in rearing them that need constant attention. Adopting a kitten because someone dropped it on your desk for a few minutes is short-sighted at best. If you’re not sure you have the resources to adopt a child, then you probably shouldn’t be adopting an animal. Thankfully, Uber has said there will be shelter workers accompanying the visits who will hopefully educate potential adopters of the reality of their investment.

Smart marketing, Uber, but animals deserve more than your fleeting marketing scam.

One thought on “UberKITTENS for National Cat Day …?

  1. I have to respectfully disagree. As a volunteer with a local rescue that was part of this, I think it was a wonderful opportunity to get the word out about adoptions. Using kittens is less stressful than adults. As volunteers, we are VERY aware of our animals and we all took special care to be sure that none were stressed. If you look at pictures, in fact most of the kittens appear to be having a great time. At the same time, I got a chance to network with some great local companies and let them know how they can contribute to our rescue, volunteer or adopt. And yes, some kittens got adopted, but several people expressed interest exclusively in adults and were given information to head them to our website. Some of the people I met today hadn’t heard of our rescue and were fascinated. We do a lot of TNR and I got an opportunity to explain that along with how to support it. Is it good marketing for Uber? Sure. But it is also a great opportunity for the rescues to get the word out.

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