Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs are an important part of our society that helps keep our stray cat populations under control.
It is humane and effective at saving cats’ lives, and in Malaysia we have organizations that constantly lead these efforts, but they often depend on volunteers and donations (monetary or otherwise).
PrintMyCats is a startup that helps TNR’s efforts in another way: by selling personalized products from your own furbabies.
Cats helping cats
Jen, the founder of PrintMyCats, has been an animal lover her entire life. Growing up she always had a pet by her side and over the past few years she has participated in a number of animal welfare activities.
She got the initial inspiration for PrintMyCats after realizing that there were a lot of people out there who were both excited about their own pets and animal welfare.
“These people treat their cats like family, like their children, and love to see their cats part of their household, which is why we came up with the idea of putting digital art in the form of canvases, bags and other custom items, ”Jen told me.
If one of her greatest loves was cats, she also loved digital art and finding solutions, so it made perfect sense for her to take an approach that benefits what she believes in.
“The idea is ‘Cats help cats’,” she says.
“Most of our customers’ cats are also rescued or adopted, which we also advocate, and these cats are somehow helping other cats (for TNR and on the streets) who are in need by purchasing an item from our store. “
It started with Becky
However, starting a business in the midst of a pandemic was no easy feat, and if it hadn’t been for a sickly little kitten, PrintMyCats might not have existed today.
“The kitten’s name is Becky, and she braved the impossible,” Jen said.
“It’s kind of a miracle. She was hospitalized and her white blood cell count nearly hit 0. Vets said other kittens wouldn’t have survived, but she did.
Jen visited Becky throughout the AGC and Becky became her inspiration to continue PrintMyCats.
“I want to do something that will make sense to help the welfare of stray cats, this is the only way I can keep doing PrintMyCats,” she says.
Animals on prints
PrintMyCats sells its merchandise through an online store and ships internationally as well as locally.
Their products include canvases, bags and notebooks, all with a graphic of your pet’s face.
According to Jen, the top favorites are tote bags and canvases, with the blanket coming in second.
“The most satisfying orders we have are those where we combine 2 or more cats (pets) into one artwork,” Jen revealed.
“As an animal owner, I know how difficult it is to put animals together for a photo, so customers are very happy that they can see them printed together.”
Although PrintMyCats is feline-focused, they will accept pets that are not cats.
Customers can choose a background color and include their pet’s name and a favorite quote of their choice. The piece is edited until the customer is fully satisfied.
“We currently have 3 highly skilled digital artists to ensure we meet the needs of our clients,” Jen said, and their print partners are from Asia and the United States.
I have to admit that I find the price of each product to be quite expensive with the digital phone background costing RM65 and a canvas costing around RM149.
Despite this, PrintMyCats has gained a loyal following, with around 30% of their customers coming back to buy more, sometimes as gifts for friends and family.
Saving lives, one cat at a time
With every purchase of a PrintMyCats product, you are indirectly helping a stray cat.
According to the store’s website, 10% of their monthly net profit is for ParkMYPets or TNR program rescue projects.
The remaining 90% is reinvested in PrintMyCats.
“I believe PrintMyCats can help a lot more when we grow up and become more stabilized,” Jen explained.
However, customers can help the chats directly, as Jen has shared plans to arrange direct sponsorship with TNR.
Meanwhile, she’s working on updating her website and social media so clients can see the impact of their contributions.
“We will post more detailed updates on the work we support. And the cat stories that we print, we are collecting for our blog, ”she said.
Going forward, Jen intends to add more products and customizations, and plans to release PrintMyCats to Asia and globally.
In order to grow her business, she mainly focuses on social media marketing and will collaborate with more pet related businesses and animal welfare organizations.
“We envision that PrintMyCats will also be a strong advocacy channel for Spay and Neuter for cats, and will 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 about the other Malaysian startups we’ve written about here.
Featured Image Credit: PrintMyCats
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