New unlimited subscription service for cats in Japan launched online


380 yen per month lets you choose your cat, but what is the real cost?

December 15 was the day of the launch of Neko Hodai, which some observers call a cat subscription service. In other words, for a monthly fee of 380 yen (2.86 USD), you can acquire a cat of your choice from a participating shelter. and also freely bring said cat back to the same or another participating shelter.

Once word of the new service spread, many online cat lovers were immediately appalled at the idea of ​​temporarily owning a cat and then giving it back, considering such a system tantamount to animal abuse. . Comments such as those below argue that, like many animals, cats go through a lot of stress when moved to a new environment and should not be seen as an object that can be easily transported.

“It’s disgusting.”
“That’s crazy.”
“Cats can die from the stress of moving. It’s really dark.
“Poor things… Treated like an object.
“Is it even legal?”
“Cats should have a home, not let them pass with all the stress that comes with it.”
“You don’t have to subscribe to a service to receive a living being.”

Much of the anger was also directed at the way the service is marketed. The name Neko Hodai uses the term “hodaiwhich is often found in words like “tabehodai“(“at will”) or “nomihodai(“All you can drink”). These limitless offerings of food and drink elicit a sense of ad libitum consumption with a reckless abandon that is pretty much the antithesis of owning a caring pet.

However, Nora Neko Bank, the Tokyo-based company that runs Neko Hodai, explains on its website that the service is primarily aimed at older people who can provide good housing and need companionship, but are worried about what might happen if they die. in front of their cat. In this way, Neko Hodai acts as a kind of intermediary between owners and shelters if a cat suddenly finds itself without an owner.

Besides this application of the service, others online have argued that cat abuse and neglect existed long before Neko Hodai existed and that it’s possible the service could help reduce these issues overall. allowing unfit owners to easily and safely unload their cats.

“Some people who don’t get along with their pet end up abandoning it. Sending them back to a shelter seems at least more conscientious.
“Being able to return them easily could prevent some people from abusing their pets.”
“There are not enough people to take care of all these cats in the shelter. This could help ease the burden on shelters.
“The reality is that most of these cats will never have a home. And it seems the price is so low that they’re not trying to make money off of it.

Neko Hodai has no additional charge for accepting or returning cats and they are also all neutered or neutered at Nora Neko Bank’s expense. It’s hard to say for sure without taking a closer look at how they operate, but it appears that Neko Hodai operates more like a utility than a purely for-profit business.

It’s certainly not an ideal solution to a pervasive problem, but if handled with the utmost care, the basic concept seems to have the potential to help reduce the amount of animal abuse.

Source: Neko Hodai, Sanspo, Itai News
Top Image: Pakutaso
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