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July 17, 2014

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City pets get matchmaking service

THE bride looks divine in her white wedding dress, while her groom cuts a dashing figure, resplendent in a black tuxedo and red bow-tie.

It’s fair to say the happy couple are the cat’s whiskers, and indeed rather apt, as these are a pair of Shanghai felines tying the knot on a red carpet on a lawn, under the loving gaze of their owner and her friends.

The cats’ wedding — complete with bridal bouquets, balloons and a “marriage certificate” signed by little paw prints — was arranged by a pet matchmaking company founded by five students at the Shanghai Normal University.

They say it’s hard for a pet to find love in the city, so are on hand to play cupid.

“Like people, pets have difficulties in finding a life partner. Once they find the one, they deserve a wedding to witness their love,” said Dong Xiaocen, a sophomore at the university’s school of finance and business and leader of the team.

Academics agree that the quirky business may be on to something, giving it first prize in this year’s Shanghai University Students Business Plan Competition.

Dong said matchmaking is their main service as many owners are keen to breed their pets. They are now building a database of pets by paying door-to-door visits at local residential communities.

If romance blossoms, the team can offer a wedding for about 300 yuan (US$48).

Other services include animal photography and a range of pet products.

Dong says there is a gap in the market in Shanghai, where dogs, cats and rabbits are popular pets.

“There are many pet stores, clinics and beauty salons in Shanghai, but pet matchmaking is still a new thing,” Dong said.

Dong said she got the idea from hearing the frustrations experienced by pet owners in finding a partner for their pets.

During the competition, the team carried out a survey of 200 pet owners which showed that more than 67 percent were keen to find a partner for their pets.

Dong said the company is now in the progress of being registered.

Competition judge Chen Aiguo said the idea was a good fit for many young people with pets. But he was unsure about dressing pets up, saying matchmakers needed to take the animals’ feelings into consideration.


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