by Kimberly Wade
There’s no question about it. We love our pets. In fact, we love them so much that many of us have jumped on the bandwagon to create social media pages just for them—something that is being called Social Petworking. And yes, I’m totally guilty as charged.
You’ve heard me mention before that our two-year-old cat Maisey has her own Instagram. She’s just surpassed 500 followers (true story—this was a goal of mine) and often she features her kitty siblings, Newton (a three-year-old tabby) and Saia (a one-year-old siamese). In talking to my husband the other day I was telling him how some cats just flourish on Instagram—there are literally famous cats who have millions of followers and are featured in movies (Nine Lives) and more. Dogs too, though cats seem to be more popular. So why isn’t my Maisey reaching people like that?
His answer was because I need better photos and less of the other pets. The focus needs to be her. So you know I’ve added creating accounts for the other animals to my to do list, but in the meantime, I’m working to up Maisey’s status.
Truth? While I partially started her account a year ago for fun and to follow the trend of Social Petworking, I really did it to raise awareness for homeless pets, promote fostering and pet adoption. Many others do this too. Even some of the famous cats, Nala Cat and Venus Two Face Cat, for example, were adopted. It helps to show the world that yes, there are purebred cats that come to shelters, and yes, we have every age, look, personality and then some. It also lets people know that there are millions of cats (and dogs) that enter animal shelters every year, there are still places that euthanize due to time or space, and that while there are reputable breeders, there are so many incredible animals in shelters… and you really can find your dream pet there! I’ve seen so many people that I know or meet who are now looking into helping shelters just because a cat or dog they follow on Instagram is a shelter alumni. That tells me that crazy cat lady or not, trendy or not, we are making a difference with Social Petworking.
There’s more too. Social Petworking helps small businesses grow. I can’t tell you how many cool cat things I’ve found thanks to Instagram, and then after my purchase arrives, I take photos and post them. The business then shares my photos, follows Maisey, and together we reach even more people, helping homeless pets find love and businesses grow. Big businesses too, like Chewy.com, encourage this as well, and have gone viral with photos of pets in their boxes. Local crafters, like ForMew (and if I may say a big supporter of Nevada Humane Society), have reached international status thanks to Social Petworking! And I could go on and one.
Finally, Social Petworking is bringing more people and pets together, allowing animal lovers to share in the joy as well as the loss. I’ve (through Maisey) befriended several animal lovers and found out they unexpectedly lost a pet and it is amazing to see the number of people come out and share in the grief, and offer consolation to the human. It may not lessen the pain, but it does help bring peace, especially when so many uplifting photos of the pet are shared and loved.
One more thing. Studies are showing that 1 in 5 pets has a social media account. 1 in 5. That’s PAWsome. Jump on the bandwagon today, or at least go follow my Maisey.
Update: Guess what? Maggie, the kitty whose story we shared last week? She went home!
Upcoming Events: October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month! If you’re in the market to adopt a new BFF, check out our many adorable dogs at both shelter locations, one in Reno and one in Carson! Plus, don’t forget about Nevada’s Super Pet Adoption Day next week, Saturday, October 14 at Rancho San Rafael Park with multiple shelters and rescues, free microchipping, food trucks, vendors and more! The event runs 10am to 4pm.