In Belgium, a group of cat adoption agencies has created its own version of the website Chatroulette. Its variation, Catroulette, features videos of cats that are available for adoption at shelters all over the country.
Like Chatroulette, visitors have the option of "Nexting" a cat. I have to confess that this is the most heartstring-tugging cat-adoption site I’ve ever seen, not just because the videos depict an array of beautiful cats doing awesomely cute things, but because with each video is a note that says how many times the cat has been Nexted. I certainly got a lump in my throat when I saw cats that had been Nexted more than 3,000 times!
On the other hand, clicking the Adopt button opens a window with information about the cat and where to get more details about him or her.
I think Catroulette is a brilliant idea. Although a number of shelters in the United States are offering live "kitty cam" coverage from their cat adoption rooms, and some are even offering opportunities to play with the cats, a lot of the time when you tune in you see an empty room or sleeping cats. Think of how much more effective video could be if shelters offered short video clips of their available cats doing things that demonstrated their personality and cuteness instead.
I know the United States is a much bigger country than Belgium, but I can imagine the possibilities that could come from incorporating this technology into a service like Petfinder or Petango — or even creating a standalone U.S. version of Catroulette with animals searchable by region, state, or municipality.
One thing I do know for sure is that the pathos method of getting animals rescued — "Look at this poor kitty; he’s been at the shelter for five years now," and so on — isn’t working. Sure, the “This cat has been Nexted 3,842 times” thing is kind of sad, but the overall tone of the site is positive. Instead of trying to get people to pity shelter cats, we need PR campaigns that show the public how wonderful shelter cats are. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth about a million, and Catroulette takes full advantage of that fact.
Source: Huffington Post
Images: Screen captures from the Catroulette website
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