Just when I thought I was the only one in my family using the internet, I found out about Andretti.
Did you know there is a website, much like a myspace or friendster for your cat? Did you know your cat can have online friends? That he can join groups? Exchange mail? You didn’t? Well, it was news to me too.
Catster.com is a forum for cats, obviously. You, the visitor, can browse among about 113,000 kitty profiles. Each cat has a page; each cat has a bio, a history, and a photo gallery. Each cat has friends. And the forum has fewer bugs than myspace and is easier to use.
I signed up all my current cats and a couple of felines who graced the earth in the past, but moved on to happier hunting grounds. Yes, there is a place for them too. I filled out a simple form with breed, color, weight, date of birth, personality traits, and adoption specifics. There is even a space for how many of his nine lives kitty has left to live. I uploaded some pictures and saved the info and thought I was done. But that was just the beginning.
Over the next few days, friend requests poured in from all over the world. Feline beauties of all breeds and distinctions wanted to make my little alley cats’ acquaintance. There were cats with pedigrees, with ribbons, sleeping on soft, satin pillows, but there were also outdoorsy ones, who might exchange hunting stories with my Andretti or horror stories about raccoons and coyotes with TchuTchu, the dramatic.
Of course, my cats received more friend requests in a few days than I get in a month on myspace. It’s disheartening. Andretti doesn’t seem to mind. He knows he’s a star. For a little orange scrap of fur, salvaged from a broken down Chevy Impala, he has pretty good self-esteem. A recent invitation to join the ‘Brilliant Orange Cats Unite’ group hasn’t made him any more modest. Alas! We humans bear the burden of humility.
I encourage you to look up my cats’ online profiles, just for fun. If you share your life with the picky, pesky, but adorable pets, consider posting a few profiles yourself. Enter your kitty in the ‘Cat of the Day’ or ‘Cat of the Week’ contests if you want. Upload some pics and post a history. If you’re a video buff, you can even add a video of your preening pets. Then see if your cats don’t find their own online friends just to spite you!
As you further explore the forum, you’ll find journaling options, in case you want to keep a diary in the voice of your cat. Remember to use words like ‘huge,’ ‘humongous’ or ‘incredibly vast,’ when describing things like the living room or the back yard, since the average cat only measures about 2 ½ feet from nose to tail tip. Try to see yourself from your cat’s point of view. You may be surprised how strange and comical you are.
The forum is not all frivolous. I found great information on pet care and resources for pet products. You, the guardian can shop to your kitty’s heart’s desire, but you may also order T-shirts and mugs with your pet’s profile pictures. You can even get real postage stamps with kitty’s photograph!
If this is all too much for you, you’re not alone. I’m still overwhelmed. You don’t have to get quite so involved. But if you ever set paw into Catster, you might get pulled into the vortex. Don’t be surprised if you wake up in the middle of the night and hear typing in the other room. Don’t get up and check, you know it’s the cat. And you know he’s sending messages to his online friends. Please don’t check his mail! You won’t like what you read. You think he’s making fun of you? Of course he is! He’s a cat, isn’t he?