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Friday, March 25, 2016

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Find Me A Cat

PawsLikeMe aims to match cats with people.
Online matchmaking services for people have been around for years, but now there's one that matches humans and dogs. Cats may soon be included, too.

The website, PawsLikeMe, recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to add cats to its listings of adoptable animals. The site uses what a press release calls a "scientifically proven algorithm" to introduce people and dogs who might be compatible with each other. It's sort of like a dating service, only it's for life.

PawsLikeMe uses a personality quiz to determine compatibility. The algorithm was developed by veterinarian Coleen Johnston and Marianna Benko, an animal behavior expert, licensed clinical social worker and cat lover.

Cat person that I am, I was surprised that the algorithm actually found some doggy matches for my very cat-like personality. Questions ask about your energy level; your preferred kind of party (I chose book club) and whether you consider yourself to be creative, intelligent, shy, social or curious. I said creative, although I couldn't tell whether the dogs I got matched with are creative or just nice.

Avoiding The "Shelter"

Unfortunately, not every match between a human and cat or dog is made in heaven. PawsLikeMe invites people who want to rehome their animals to post them on its site and provides tips and marketing help.

The website also shares some of its profits with partner website and shelters. Future plans call for kiosks in shelters so potential adopters can do the questionnaire onsite and meet animals who might make compatible family members.

Adopting A Cat

While PawsLikeMe is raising money (they have a long way to go), it looks like cat lovers are left with the old-fashioned way of choosing a cat. Compatibility questionnaires aside, your heart will tell you when you've met the right cat. There seems to be an almost magical connection between a person and a cat who are meant to be together. But if you're not sure how to even start your search, these tips will help.

With nine feline family members, I'm not looking for a new cat. But when PawsLikeMe finally has cats online, my rescue will be right there hoping the electronic matchmaker will work its magic.

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