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Important news
在线翻译:
szdaily -> Important news -> 
PET STORE EARNS MIXED REACTIONS FOR CAT-SHARING SERVICE
    2018-02-07  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Zhang Qian

zhqcindy@163.com

WITH the concept of “sharing economy” becoming increasingly pervasive in China, more businesses are giving this commercial mode of sharing their services or products a try, and now cat-sharing has appeared in Shenzhen, albeit with controversial comments.

A cat shop in Longgang District recently sparked public criticism after launching a cat-sharing service.

According to the shop’s rental agreement, which was circulated online, people can rent a cat for 39.9 yuan (US$6.35) a day after paying a deposit of 2,500 yuan. The rent is paid on a monthly basis.

The cats will undergo health tests before and after the rental period to ensure that they are healthy, according to the shop, called “Jixiang,” which means “lucky omen” in English. The deposit will not be refunded if the cats are unhealthy or deceased when they are returned, it said.

According to the agreement, people who are found to have abused the cats won’t have their deposit returned and will be held accountable.

The service provides temporary companionship for people who love cats but do not have the time or money to keep one regularly.

It is believed to be the first time in China — where the sharing economy has grown rapidly in recent years, particularly for bikes and cars — that sharing has involved something alive.

However, the service has sparked public condemnation, with many people considering it neglectful of the animals’ well-being.

Nichalia Schwartz, an American living in Shenzhen who is a pet lover, said the idea of renting a cat is “interesting, but probably not the right way to go about it.”

“Cats aren’t accessories. You might swap clothes, shoes or bags, and you might rent a fancy dress or a car, but a cat is actually alive and has feelings. They become attached to the people they live with if they are well treated,” said Schwartz.

Schwartz has also regularly fostered homeless cats. She said fostering cats that actually need homes is different than renting cats just for fun. “I think that instead of expensive fancy cats, the cat store can take in cats that actually need homes.”

Schwartz suggested people who are keen on keeping cats connect with animal rescue organizations or join a pet lovers WeChat group. “They might find other people who are also interested and find opportunities to temporarily keep a cat,” said the American freelance singer.

“The move by the shop is a misuse of the sharing economy model,” said 31-year-old Xiong Mei, an owner of two cats in Shenzhen.

“The essence of the sharing economy lies in making use of excessive social resources to improve efficiency and reduce waste. But cats are not an excessive social resources. They are not items that can be transferred from one person to another. They are living and have emotions. They should be given more respect.”

An Jun, another Shenzhen resident, said: “Although the service offers an opportunity for pet lovers, we should not build our happiness on animals’ misery.”

However, some posts on Reddit, an online forum, said the cat-sharing service addresses people’s wish to rent pets and keep them for a certain period to see if they could continue to stay permanently.

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Shenzhen Daily E-mail:szdaily@szszd.com.cn