“SINGLE FEMALE CAT OWNER: Seeks male companion who likes cuddling, playing ball and doesn't mind hearing the occasional "meow" in the middle of the night.”
It used to be that lonely-hearted, pet-owning singles would take out personal ads, hoping a potential match wouldn’t end up being allergic or averse to their cat. Now there’s a way to cut to the chase: A variety of cat-themed dating Web sites and social networks have launched in the last few years on the premise that pet owners share a special something that they seek in a spouse -- or even in a good friend. That special something can be summed up by the feel of soft fur rubbing against one's leg, the purr after a satisfying neck scratch, and friendship of the feline sort.
"There are a lot of people out there who want to meet others who share a common interest like pets," says Robert Yau, who founded DateMyPet.com five years ago and more recently started the social networking site MyCatSpace.com.
Cat-themed Social Networking Sites
Joining a pet-centered Web site can help ease tensions on the dreaded first date. "Nobody can tell whether or not you're going to have chemistry based on something like a common interest in pets, but if you have a dog or cat, it's a great way to break the ice," explains Michael Carter, president of PetPassions.com, a pet-themed dating and social networking site.
These pet lover Web sites also allow your sense of humor to show through -- in your profile and postings. DateMyPet.com asks members to describe their pet's perspective on the ideal date. "It brings out the tongue-in-cheek," says Yau. People sometimes write quips such as, "If I was a cat, I'd just want to stay in my bed" or "If a member of the opposite sex comes to the house, I would hope they would have a big lap so I could sit on it."
But, as with meeting any strangers, it's important to be cautious. Experts advise that you guard personal information and go to a public place for initial get-togethers. Here is a rundown on a few pet-themed dating and/or networking Web sites:
- The Right Breed This Web site features instant messaging, chat rooms, topic forums, streaming video from webcams, and an online magazine about pets and dating. Singles can search for prospective partners by region, age, animals and even by cat breed. The service is free for the first 60 days. After that, it’s $14.99 per month.
- Pet Passions This free online dating and social networking site was started in 2004. It features photo personals, blogging, email, text chat, audio chat and webcam chat. Inside, the site is segmented so that cat lovers can stick with their own kind while fish and horse lovers mingle among themselves.
- Must Love Pets Members use personals, chat, matchmaking services, forums and photo galleries to get to know other cat lovers. You can meet feline fans from around the country or those in your neighborhood. Basic membership, during which you can create a profile and post pictures of you and your pet, is free. If you want to contact other members, you can sign up for a premium membership, which costs a one-time fee of $44.95.
- Date My Pet Members fill out two profiles -- one for themselves and one for their cat(s). The site can be used for romance or friendship. The basic membership is free and allows you to post a profile. The next level of membership costs $15 per month and allows you to initiate contact or a chat with another member.
Remember Your Cat
While searching for a new friend or date, keep in mind that your cat still needs companionship too. Consider adopting another cat, but if that's not for you or your kitty, make sure to set aside time each day to play games with your pet, enhancing the fun with soothing and comforting banter. Remember, cats can't directly post personal ads.