Japan Today
Image: Pakutaso

New unlimited cat subscription service in Japan blasted online

By SoraNews24

Dec 15 was the launch day for Neko Hodai, which some observers are calling a cat subscription service. In other words, for a monthly fee of 380 yen, you can acquire a cat of your choice from a participating shelter and also freely return the said cat to the same or another participating shelter.

Once news of the new service spread, many cat lovers online were immediately appalled at the idea of temporarily owning a cat and then returning it, considering such a system tantamount to animal abuse. Comments such as the ones below argue that, like many animals, cats undergo a great deal of stress when being relocated to a new environment and shouldn’t be seen as an object that can be easily shipped around.

“That’s disgusting.”

“That’s insane.”

“Cats can die from the stress of moving. This is really dark.”

“Poor things… Treated like an object.”

“Is this even legal?”

“Cats should be given a home, not passed around with all the stress that comes with it.”

“You shouldn’t subscribe to a service in order to receive a living thing.”

A lot of the anger was directed at the way the service is marketed as well. The name Neko Hodai uses the term hodai which is often found in words like tabehodai (“all-you-can-eat”) or nomihodai (“all-you-can-drink”). These unlimited food and drink offers elicit a sense of at-will consumption with reckless abandon that is pretty much the antithesis of caring pet ownership.

However, Nora Neko Bank, the Tokyo-based company that runs Neko Hodai, explains on their website that the service is mainly aimed at elderly people who are capable of providing good homes and in need of companionship, but worry about what might happen should they pass away before their cat. In this way, Neko Hodai acts as a sort of intermediary between owners and shelters should a cat suddenly find itself no longer with an owner.

Beside that application of the service, some others online argued that cat abuse and neglect has been going on long before Neko Hodai existed and there is a possibility that the service could help reduce these problems overall by allowing unsuitable owners to easily offload their cats safely.

“Some people who don’t get along with their pet end up abandoning them. Returning them to a shelter seems more conscientious at least.”

“Being able to return them easily could prevent some people from abusing their pets.”

“There aren’t enough people to take care of all these sheltered cats. This could help take the burden off the shelters.”

“The reality is most of these cats will never get a home. And it seems like the price is so low, they’re not trying to make money off it.”

Neko Hodai has no additional charges for accepting or returning cats and they are all spayed or neutered at Nora Neko Bank’s expense as well. It’s hard to say for sure without a closer look at how they operate, but it appears that Neko Hodai is operating more as a public service than a purely profit driven company.

It’s definitely not an ideal solution to an ever-present problem, but if handled with the utmost care the core concept seems like it could potentially help to reduce the amount of animal abuse out there.

Sources: Neko Hodai, Sanspo, Itai News

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japan’s heart-melting, mouthwatering cat-shaped bread can now be ordered online【Photos】

-- Japanese company makes a robot specifically to keep your cat entertained

-- Japanese public divided on new law that requires microchipping of pets

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Good grief. Talk about end-stage capitalism.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Good grief. Talk about end-stage capitalism.

Beat me to it.

Landlords should stop being such prima donnas when making money and have more places allow pets and adopt the many cats needing homes.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

This is what happens in the nexus of capitalism and a complete absence of understanding and empathy for animals. What next indeed? Eating their flesh cheaply in all you can eat restaurants?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Sounds like misplaced or extremely naive generosity. How about stop perpetuating selling or renting living beings?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I can think of many catches that this business is using in order to make money, 380 yen is NOT it or all. I am certain that they will be imposing several other rules and catches and that is were they are making their money, examples:

1- Must buy their cat food delivered to your door monthly.

2- Must buy their cat maintenance products such as litter box, blankets, towels, bed, shampoo, oil, brushes, nail clipper, this could go on and on and on.

3- Must buy health and life or even abuse insurance for the cat.

4- Must bring or make the cat available for "Health Checkups" may be every 3 or 4 months and you pay for it.

5- Must pay for all Vaccines and any health issue including medication.

And the list goes on and on, so do NOT be fool enough to join this SCAM.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So is this for profit, or does all earnings go toward looking after cats at the cat shelter?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Too bad, what those people have to do is encourage the adoption of cats and dogs..

I hope it doesn't work out...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This sounds like a good service actually. How many stray/ homeless dogs do you see on the streets in Tokyo? I’ve seen one in 17 years and that was just a dog that got loose from its leash and the cops were chasing after it. How many stray cats do you see? A lot. Most people view cats as expendable when moving to places that don’t allow pets. If they can’t find them a new owner they dump them in the park because if you give a cat to a shelter they will most likely end up in the gas chamber so, in a way, it’s more humane. A homeless cat is never gonna starve in Japan. There’s enough weirdos in parks feeding and playing with the strays anyways.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Many who disagree with the service will suddenly go silent when asked to take the cats in. Much better than a shelter which may kill the cats if no one adopts within a certain time frame. Geez. Imagine if orphanages were run that way. "Sorry, Suzi, its been a whole month and no one's adopted you. Now hold still, it'll only hurt for a second." Sad

0 ( +2 / -2 )

That's interesting. How's this different to pet-sitting? In Australia here's a website that facilitates pet-sitting. https://www.lendapet.com.au/borrow

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I can think of many catches that this business is using in order to make money,

None of the things you mention are included in the description of the service in their homepage, the only thing the temporary owners need to make a commitment is about taking care of the cat and keep it completely indoors without any details they have to agree above that, before accusing them to run a scam it would be necessary to actually prove they are doing it first.

The main problem according how the service is described is the name, which makes it seem as if it was something completely different of what is (was) actually done.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The alternative to this service is euthanising the cats, as most shelters simply cannot afford to give them the food they need. Or for that matter, the attention cats need to stay reasonably domesticated.

It offers elderly, isolated people some companionship, whilst reducing the chance of the cats being neglected.

It is a sensible, practical solution, instead of a 'final solution'.

The comments about capitalism are ridiculous.

quote: selling or renting living beings.

As in professional sports contracts?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

“Cats should be given a home, not passed around with all the stress that comes with it.”

I have to wonder if this is in fact true? We have cats in our neighborhood who, how to say it, share homes. More than one family will believe the cat is "theirs" because it shows up for a couple of weeks and they feed it. Then it disappears for a while, but it is staying at another home in the neighborhood who's family thinks it is their cat and who also feed it. The first family will show photos of it on social media asking neighbors to look for their cat, and another neighbor will say "hey that's not your cat it's mine". Soon the mystery unravels and you discover said cat has been staying with two or three families all of whom thought the cat was theirs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites