Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programmes are an important part of our society that helps keep our populations of stray cats in check.
It is humane and effective in saving the lives of cats, and in Malaysia, we have organisations consistently carrying out these efforts, but they’re often dependent on volunteers and donations (monetary or otherwise).
PrintMyCats is a startup helping out with TNR efforts in another way: by selling customised merchandise of your very own furbabies.
Cats Helping Cats
Jen, the founder of PrintMyCats, has been an animal lover all her life. Growing up, she’s always had a pet by her side and in the past few years, she’s been involved in a number of animal welfare activities.
She got the initial inspiration for PrintMyCats after realising that there were a lot of people who are both enthusiastic about their own pets and animal welfare.
“These people treat their cats as family, like their kids and they love to see their cats being part of their household, so we came up of the idea of putting digital art in the form of customised canvases, bags and other items,” Jen said.
While one of her biggest loves was cats, she also liked digital art and finding solutions, so it made perfect sense for her to make an approach that benefitted what she believes in.
“The idea is ‘Cats Helping Cats’,” she said.
“Most of our customers’ cats are also rescued or adopted, which we advocate too, and these cats are, in a way, helping other cats (for TNR and in the streets) that are in need through purchasing an item from our store.”
It Started With Becky
However, launching a business in the middle of a pandemic was no easy feat, and if it weren’t for a sickly little kitten, PrintMyCats might not have been around today.
“The kitten’s name is Becky, and she braved the impossible,” Jen said.
“She’s sort of a miracle. She was hospitalised and her white blood cell count turned almost 0. The vets said other kittens would have not survived, but she did.”
Jen visited Becky throughout the MCO, and Becky became her inspiration to continue PrintMyCats.
“I want to do something that will be meaningful to help the stray cat welfare, it’s the only way I will want to continue doing PrintMyCats,” she said.
Pets On Prints
PrintMyCats sells their merchandise via an online shop, and they ship internationally as well as locally.
Their products include canvasses, bags, and notebooks, all with a graphic of your pet’s face on it.
According to Jen, the top favourites are the tote bags and canvases, with the blanket coming in a close second.
“The most satisfying orders that we have are the ones where we combine 2 or more cats (pets) in one artwork,” Jen revealed.
“Being a pet owner, I know how hard it is to put the pets together for a photo, so the customers are very happy to be able to see them printed together.”
While PrintMyCats is feline-focused, they will accept pets that aren’t cats.
Customers can pick a background colour and include their pet’s name and a favourite quote of their choosing. The piece is edited until the customer is fully satisfied.
“We currently have 3 highly skilled digital artists to make sure we meet our clients’ needs,” Jen said, and their printing partners hail from both Asia and the US.
I have to admit that I find the price for each product is quite expensive, with the digital phone background costing RM65, and a canvas costing around RM149.
Despite that, PrintMyCats has earned a faithful following, with about 30% of their customers returning to buy more, sometimes as gifts for their friends and family.
Saving Lives, One Cat At A Time
For any purchase of a PrintMyCats product, you’re indirectly helping a stray cat.
According to the shop’s website, 10% of their monthly net profit is sent to rescue projects of ParkMYPets or TNR programmes.
The remaining 90% is invested back into PrintMyCats.
“I believe PrintMyCats can help so much more when we grow and become more stabilised,” Jen explained.
However, ways that customers can help the cats directly is in the works, as Jen has shared plans to arrange direct sponsorship with TNR.
Meanwhile, she’s working on updating her website and social media so customers can see the impact of their contributions.
“We will be posting more detailed updates about the work that we support. And the stories of the cats that we print, we are in the process of collecting them for our blog publishing,” she said.
In the future, Jen intends to add more products and customisation, and plans to spread PrintMyCats through Asia and across the world.
In order to grow her company, she’s focusing chiefly on social media marketing, and will collaborate with more pet-related businesses and animal welfare organisations.
“We envision that PrintMyCats will also be a channel of strong advocacy for Spay and Neuter for cats, and be able to help more cats in need,” Jen said hopefully.
- Learn more about PrintMyCats on their website, Facebook and Instagram.
- You can read more on other Malaysian startups we’ve written about here.
Featured Image Credit: PrintMyCats