Launched recently on the 31st of July, Petfie is a photo-sharing app for animals, currently available on the iOS platform and due to launch on Android by this year. What’s unique is that you can create profiles just for your pets or community animals (no more annoying humans), and geo-tag their location.
Bringing Animal Lovers Together
While there are already many animal accounts and pages on social media, Petfie co-founder Jerome Chan realised that the animal-loving online community was too fragmented.
“If I create a Facebook page for a cat down my block, it’s not intuitive for other residents to find it. Petfie solves this with geo-tagging, so that you can see all the animals near you on a map,” explained the young entrepreneur, who also founded Ideas Incubator.
This way, you can identify the animals living around you and post regular photos of them to assure other animal-lovers that our neighbourhood companions are safe and sound.
Describing Petfie as more of a community app than a business, Chan believes that it can “build a platform to support animal lovers’ activities and show our love for all these animals”.
Lai Pei Ying, 24, a new Petfie user, is similarly optimistic. “There might be opportunities for animal lovers to seek help and share opinions, they could even meet up,” she noted.
Helping The Stray Cats Of Singapore
The Cat Welfare Society will be leveraging on Petfie to promote the Stray Cat Sterilisation Programme (SCSP), a recent government initiative enabling stray cats to be sterilised for free at partner vets.
Petfie is set to feature links that teach how to bring a cat for sterilisation, as well as to list the nearest vet residents can turn to. The aim is to prompt residents into taking ownership of community cats rather than over-relying on animal charities.
“Our surveys also show that a lot of people think that sterilisation is cruel,” said Clara Yeo, a CWS volunteer. “But once they check out Petfie, they’ll gain awareness on why it’s needed.”
There is however, the issue of reaching out to elderly who may not be tech-savvy. This is crucial because stray cats abound in many mature estates, noted Jerlyyn Tay, a third-year Biological Chemistry student from Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
“There are elderly who tirelessly take care of the cats, and would be willing to help. Perhaps the Petfie team could paste posters of the cats needing sterilisation,” suggested the cat-lover, who has volunteered with NTU’s Cat Management Network.
Big Plans And Bright Prospects
One year from now, the CWS hopes to use Petfie to obtain a headcount of the stray cats in Singapore.
“The numbers will help us in requesting the government for more funds to fund this sterilisation programme. We also want to be more transparent and let the public know where their donations go,” commented Asy’ari Asni, Prgramme Manager of CWS.
As for the Petfie team, they do not hope for mass downloads, but simply for the app to reach its target audience – genuine animal lovers. This promising start-up may also consider expanding overseas, such as in Thailand and Hong Kong.
And it does look like the CWS-Petfie collaboration is set to scale new heights. Lauding the partnership as “a match made in heaven”, CWS Chief Executive Officer Joanne Ng urges other animal welfare groups to step forward and collaborate.
“The animal welfare groups have already been working very closely together and our voices are getting heard. Petfie is one step closer to raising awareness and increasing volunteerism.”
Animals can be our best friend, it’s probably time we do our best to return the favor as well.