The sharing economy and your cat

Zoe of Cromwell

Retired Anglican Minister Lance Lawton reshared this story the other day. It’s about cats, so of course, The Other Cheek thinks it’s a great read.

~~ Meet Zoe of Crookwell (Pictured) ~~ 

So I have this awesome strategy combining the best features of retirement living, companion animal therapy and the sharing economy. Become a shareholder in a cat. Works a treat. Do keep an eye on the stock exchange. Working on the full business plan now.

What the dickens am I talking about, do you ask? Well, listen up. We have over two decades served on the staff of a succession of feline family members. We paid all utility costs, home mortgage, food, heating, toileting, medical treatment, transport, and state registration, as well as providing associated labour. And all the above for our own life management too. In return, we were granted spasmodic audiences and relational opportunities along with acquiring life skills such as protecting antique padded furniture from trauma and neutralising stale urine odours from carpets. All around, it’s an excellent deal.

But that is all just so twentieth-century, let’s be honest. The big downside of the old way was rest and recuperation. The contract lacked any reliable provision for staff annual leave. Thus, if we, the staff, weren’t able to secure the services of suitable relieving staff at whatever notice, leave was cancelled without accrual. And no union representation either. And finally, upon the demise of the last employer, we gave unemployment a shot. Reduced overheads, no relational or skill acquisition opportunities, but far more reasonable leave provisions.

Enter the ’20s, retirement and the sharing economy. Cat “ownership”, pffft!  Zoe has been a resident of our street here in Crookwell for several years and greeted us upon our arrival as immigrants. (“Zoe” would not have been our naming choice. But its retention was a contractual condition of her pre-existing medical account). It happened that Zoe had dismissed her former staff some three years prior, finding her enforced new lodgings unsuitable and poorly located. Understandable. Thereafter, upon resuming residence in her preferred street, she had slummed it with no staff, irregular victualling, irregular and unreliable relief staff, and really really substandard accommodation. The back-to-nature lifestyle choice had proven a great disappointment.

After we settled in, Zoe offered us and the next-door neighbour equal shares in her service. Thereupon, we became cat shareholders. Suffice it to say my tongue runneth over with superlatives in describing this bold new approach for our times. 

Zoe officially lives on both properties with a staff of three. In day-to-day practice, she gives preference to the other property since that’s where her dining facilities are located. Fair enough too. However she does grant us and our patch modest but fair access. Financial arrangements work thus. The neighbour funds dining while we fund veterinary costs. You can see the flexibility there, can’t you? Modest weekly expenses or annual lump sum investment; the choice is yours. Staff leave is a snap and so much fairer. The staff roster is your friend. Oh nearly forgot the most awesome bit. The dining room is located on the other property, and the neighbour gets the litter tray. How good is that? Shareholder value, that’s what that is.

Retirement, feline shareholding, fair and flexible staffing, and the sharing economy are coming to your street. This, dear friends, is the future of domesticity. We just need to find a suitable name, and we’re away. Uber-Whiskers sounds good, but there could be copyright issues. Anyway, I’m on it.

I see the future, dear friends. No longer shall an employer such as Zoe be denied the best in staffing. She may have hundreds of staff working just a few hours a week each, with exponential portfolio enhancement. And no longer shall human staff be denied fair employment conditions. Happy cat, happy value-added shareholders.

First published at