There are a few things I look for in a prospective partner. They should be fun, intelligent and have a really nice pussy. No, no, I’m not being vulgar – I just want to date someone with a cat!
Luckily for me, there are lots of cats in the world. In fact, nearly 43 million households in the USA – or 35.7% – have a cat. The number is a bit lower for the UK, coming closer to 26%. The other good news? There’s now a dating app specifically designed for cat owners or enthusiasts to meet and bond over (and with) their furry friends. Well, I won’t be able to use it unless I move to the States, but one can dream.
The app, appropriately named ‘Tabby’, recently secured funding from Shark Tank. Kevin O’Leary, one of the sharks, decided to invest $300,000 in the company because of his financial involvement in Basepaws, a company that analyses cats’ DNA to find them the best feline healthcare. O’Leary believes that he’ll be able to use the information from Basepaws to recruit new members to Tabby. In exchange, Tabby’s founder Leigh D’Angelo handed over 30% equity in her company.
Although the money from Shark Tank will, undoubtedly, be useful, Tabby is already doing pretty well. Since launching in August 2020 – on International Cats’ Day, appropriately – Tabby has managed to attract more than 30,000-50,000 users. The exposure on national television won’t hurt, either, and they’ve been discussed on Good Morning America, ABC and in the Wall Street Journal. The founders of the company also have previous experience with a very similar app: Dig, dating for dog owners! The sites cross-promote each other and will surely help many pet owners to find a slightly-less-furry friend. In fact, Dig is owned by D’Angelo’s sister, Casey Isaacson and enjoys 250,000 members.
So how does it work? Tabby seems pretty similar to lots of modern dating apps. Users can look through each others’ profiles to see if there’s anyone they’d like to connect with, and they can upload pictures of themselves, their cats and both of them together. There are also members’ events where cat owners or lovers can meet up in cat-friendly places and have a kitty play date. Great news for the local cat cafes! The founders of Tabby have spoken about the fact that there aren’t many places for cat enthusiasts to meet. Dog owners have parks, cat owners have Tabby. Because Tabby knows the common interest of all of their users they can also blog about cats and include everything from good feline advice to discussions about rescue cats. All of this is designed to draw eyes to the site, attract new members and spur discussions to improve the feline community. Presumably, this will provide a nice loop with Basepaws as each company can advertise the other, knowing that they’ll be marketing to an interested audience.
The creation of Dig came about after Isaacson split with her former partner because, apparently, he didn’t like dogs. For any pet enthusiast, building a romantic relationship with anyone opposed to animals is going to be tough. Cats and dogs need regular attention and shape the lives of their owners, as well as offer affection and companionship. So it makes sense that people would be most compatible with anyone who understands and values the joy – and responsibility – that comes with pet ownership. As D’Angelo said, “cat lovers want to cut to the chase and find someone who is compatible with their cat-forward lifestyle”. The sisters aren’t alone. Apparently, 71% of Americans trust their pets’ opinion of someone over their own judgement and 68% of Americans would choose their pet over their partner.
If you’re looking for a romantic companion who you know will love the animal in your life, Tabby may well be perfect. Even if you’re allergic or more of a lizard person, it’s easy to like this idea. There are endless tedious dating apps that seem to target a weird niche or rely on badly-considered premises that would make any singleton roll their eyes and sigh. So something that’s simple, connects its users through a common interest and shared values might have us feeling, well, like the cat that got the cream.