From kitty cur­ren­cies to pets in the "cloud," China's cat econ­omy is on the rise 从猫咪咖啡到云养猫, “猫咪经济”的背后是“空巢青年”的空虚寂寞冷?

The World of Chinese - - News - BY SUN JIAHUI ( )

In­ter­net icons and fluffy com­pan­ions, cats have slunk their way into the hearts of mil­lions of pet own­ers, not to men­tion fans all over so­cial me­dia. As cat cafes and videos ex­pand into “cloud pets” and cryp­tocur­rency, even state me­dia is ask­ing: Are fe­line fans just lonely youths, or the begin­ning of a “cat econ­omy”?

T “ blan­ket is soft/ I stay in­doors with my cat,” wrote poet the Song dy­nasty, 800 years ago, cats were cool. Today, they even

lies be­sides my pil­low. I give her a Liaon­ing prov­ince, about her pet, Lit­tle Nine. “I wouldn’t get bored my cat, I feel like I have the en­tire world.”

un­bri­dled love of cats can be grounds at cat own­ers as “hav­ing nowhere to de­vote their in­stinct of pro­tect­ing oth­ers, so they are more prone to nest youths” ( )—mil­len­ni­als un­mar­ried and liv­ing alone—the party mouth­piece im­plied that iso­la­tion, lone­li­ness, and feel­ings of empti­ness were rea­sons that peo­ple sought in­ter­ac­tion with cats.

About 79.5 per­cent of pet own­ers 90s, and over 51 per­cent are sin­gle, coun­try’s big­gest pet fo­rum. The coun­try’s grow­ing fas­ci­na­tion for an in­dus­try worth 134 bil­lion RMB. That worth is ex­pected to reach 188.5

Ac­com­pa­ny­ing the dra­matic in­crease is a grow­ing cul­tural ob­ses­sion with the crea­tures who once in­spired Shen Zhen­lin, im­pe­rial painter of the late ob­ject to the no­tion of their beloved cats as mere pets. Ja­panese novelist d th J] QEE.Q ., L :I [. K: Z, that “It’s not hu­mans who rear cats; it’s cats who deign to stay with hu­mans.” Own­ers de­clare them­selves “slaves to cats” ( ) and “ex­cre­ment re­moval ); to in­ter­act with their pet is to “sniff ” or “snort cats” ( ), an al­lu­sion to their ad­dic­tive al­lure.

phrase “rais­ing cats in the cloud” ( ) refers to in­dulging one’s fe­line fan­tasies vi­car­i­ously on­line, through shar­ing pic­tures, memes, gifs, and videos, or even rais­ing vir­tual cats. have be­come pro­fes­sional cat blog­gers, in­ter­net fame. “Huiyi Zhuany­ong started with pic­tures and videos of cat; it’s now ru­mored that Xiao­ma­jia ad­ver­tise­ment.

Loulou, a cat with the ded­i­cated 760,000 fans who en­joyed mak­ing memes out of the fe­line’s videos, on Loulou’s be­half more than 8,000 times, though Loulou didn’t make it. Hanyun used a meme fea­tur­ing the de­ceased fe­line to wish her friend a year, out­raged Loulou fans de­nounced the star as heart­less and Zhang was forced to delete her post.


thli yttw gjj tgo, a mo­bile game in which play­ers can pur­chase food, toys, and fur­ni­ture to at­tract a va­ri­ety of vir­tual strays to their back­yard. adap­ta­tion, n glh gd t gjj tygl, re­ceived rap­tur­ous rat­ings on Douban. again how the kit­ties have taken over our planet.”

This takeover was most ap­par­ent in the Novem­ber launch of E :t] ]. , as a po­ten­tial in­vest­ment op­por­tu­nity. re­lease of E :t] ]. by the Zen, did not ma­te­ri­al­ize over Spring Store, in­clud­ing uz:md q by 360.

E :t] ]. al­lows users to raise, breed and trade vir­tual cats on the Ethereum net­work us­ing cryp­tocur­rency. Each val­i­dated through the blockchain, and has a gen­er­a­tion num­ber and unique fea­tures de­ter­mined by a par­tially closed source al­go­rithm. Two cats can be bred to­gether to pro­duce a new cat with a greater gen­er­a­tion gen­er­a­tion num­ber and rarer fea­tures has higher val­ues.

Orig­i­nally thought to be an at­tempt to de­ploy blockchain tech­nol­ogy for recre­ational pur­poses, E :t] ]. ’ a week of re­lease, it was hogging 11 per­cent of trans­ac­tions on Ethereum, a blockchain net­work; at the time of press, play­ers had spent more than 19 mil­lion USD trad­ing car­toon kit­tens, with the most ex­pen­sive chang­ing hands for about 110,000 USD,

The bur­geon­ing pop­u­lar­ity sug­gests that trades on fe­line fas­ci­na­tion. the Ja­panese for “cat,” neko­nomic strate­gies range from putting a kitty sta­tion­mas­ter on a train line to tem­ples that lit­ter their grounds with cat stat­uettes, all of which at­tract cus­tomers, though they may have noth­ing to do with the busi­ness it­self. These gim­micks also fuel a shar­ing apps, pet stores, and kitty mer­chan­dise.

with fe­line com­pan­ions, have long


nar­row lane off Dong­gong Street, the cafe’s 40 cats from 15 dif­fer­ent breeds slink and purr their way be­tween ta­ble legs and cus­tomers. The frisky fe­lines of­ten up­set bev­er­ages and step on cakes, but few cus­tomers seem to mind. “Ev­ery­one who comes here

costs of a busi­ness like his “are twice that of nor­mal cafes, mostly spent per­son­nel.” Af­ter seven years in part of a cat econ­omy of his own— op­er­at­ing a pet store along­side his cafe, pic­tures of his cats with more than

He has even played a prob­a­ble role in stim­u­lat­ing the trade in rare cat breeds like Abyssini­ans in Beijing. “There were maybe only three breed­ers when and more cus­tomers are com­ing in to in­quire about Abyssinian cats.”

At an­other cat cafe in the San­l­i­tun neigh­bor­hood, the staff re­port that there’s at least “one in­ci­dent ev­ery meets the claws of an an­noyed cat, but for ail­urophiles who can’t in­dulge their pas­sion at home, these risks are just added re­al­ism. “I love cats so much, but I can’t have one at home, be­cause my par­ents are al­ler­gic,” a cat in the ‘cloud’ is mean­ing­ful. To ‘sniff ’ a cat, you have to hold it with your own hands.”

cat econ­omy. “Most of our cus­tomers are young, from teenagers to those they have time, they come to the cafe; when they are busy, they re­sort to the close to cats.”

traced the roots of Ja­pan’s cat econ­omy to two “op­pos­ing as­pects” of con­tem­po­rary in­ter­net cul­ture— con­nec­tiv­ity, and burnout from what­ever they want and still charm their own­ers. That’s why they’re so agreed, liken­ing fe­lines to a pro­jec­tion need to be walked, are never clingy, well with youths who con­tin­u­ally call for in­de­pen­dence, stay up late, and

won’t spare a glance for any­thing around them, in­clud­ing their proud at­ti­tudes to ex­press their own feel­ings.” The fact that mil­len­ni­als are spend­ing their leisure hours fondling real and vir­tual fe­lines—in­stead of so­cial­iz­ing, get­ting mar­ried, or buy­ing a house—is un­palat­able to a state keen to en­sure sta­bil­ity and ed­u­cate the next gen­er­a­tion in so­cial­ist val­ues. “The process of rais­ing a ‘cat in the cloud’ is more about young peo­ple com­mu­ni­cat­ing with them­selves, rather than in­ter­act­ing with cats,” the news­pa­per ul­ti­mately con­cluded.

moral panic. “They al­ways try to make us out to be pa­thetic,” she says, but “there’s no com­pli­cated the­ory” be­hind her—just the love of a soft, knew noth­ing about the cats, but now many can name dif­fer­ent breeds.” Or it, “Sniff a cat once, and spend your whole life try­ing to quit.”


Two cus­tomers feed cats in a Shang­hai cafe run by “Aunt Xia,” a noted cat­lover who has helped to find homes for over 1,800 stray cats; all the cats here are strays and open for adop­tion

A cat cafe in Beilu­ogu Al­ley fea­tures over 40 cats of var­i­ous breeds. “Play­ing with these fur balls sweeps away neg­a­tive emo­tions; many cus­tomers stop by af­ter work,” says the owner

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