Cat Lover? Feeling Down? Just $20 for Cupcakes and Kitten Snuggles

Yes, you read that correctly. If you lived in Seattle, New York City or San Francisco on October 29, you could eat some cupcakes and play with cute kittens for just $20.

That was a recent marketing campaign from Uber, a San Francisco-based mobile app development company that specializes in connecting people with professional drivers for hire.

The “I Can Has UberKITTENS” operation celebrated National Cat Day (because that apparently exists) as an adorable marketing ploy. The folks at Uber teamed up with a ridiculously popular meme site, Cheezburger, to deliver kittens on-demand in Seattle, New York City and San Francisco.

Anyone living in those cities just had to download the Uber app (ah-ha!) and during certain hours of the day could request the “KITTENS” option on the app. Depending on availability, kittens would then be delivered to their location for 15 minutes, along with cupcakes made by chef Duff Goldman of Charm City Bakery (and made famous by “Ace of Cakes” on the Food Channel).

All of the money was donated to the city’s local animal shelter. The shelters were then able to foster kitten adoptions. Uber also created a hashtag, #ICanHasUberKittens, for everyone to use on social media.

And the company swiftly learned that it had struck gold with its creative campaign – social media exploded with tweets and photos of people with kittens … and people begging for kittens to be delivered. Seems Uber wasn’t expecting the response to be so overwhelming. Company CEO Travis Kalanick ended up tweeting an apology for the lack of available kittens once they realized every single person living in Seattle, New York City and San Francisco wanted a 15-minute snuggle.

This is one of my favorite tweets to come out of the whole thing: Mick Thompson typed, “I will switch to @lyft if they can bring me kittens in the next 30mins. #uberKittens” (Lyft is a competitor company to Uber.)

All in all, it seems like the campaign was a hit, even despite the kitten shortage (I can’t believe I just wrote that). Hopefully most of the fury friends were adopted and are now lounging in the sun beams of good homes. It just goes to show how some creativity, a good cause and some shameless self-promotion can boost your company’s name while benefiting the community.

Pet Food Company Offering Different Kind of ‘BOGO’

We hear often that humans aren’t the only ones suffering in a recession.

Typically, when families can hardly afford to feed themselves, their furry canine friends are often abandoned or given to rescue organizations or shelters. But the animals still need to eat – and the cost of dog food is one of the biggest expenses for these organizations.

California-based FreeHand™ is trying to fill the gap with a new “buy-one-give-one” food donation program called Pound for pound, scoop for scoop, meal for meal™. For every pound of dog food sold, the company will give an equal amount of food to an Indianapolis rescue organization or shelter. Though the company is out of Los Angeles, animals in Indianapolis will benefit from the donations.

The more products it sells, the more dogs’ lives FreeHand and its partners can save. 

FreeHand Managing Director Tom Bagamane stresses that the donated food stays in the local communities where it is purchased. Affiliated resellers designate recipients from a list of local rescue groups and shelters screened and approved by FreeHand.  Online purchasers may select recipient organizations from a pre-approved list provided at checkout.  Importantly, all recipient organizations must adhere to strict criteria established by FreeHand to ensure the respectful treatment of the animals under their care.

To date, Indianapolis area rescue organizations and shelters that have qualified for FreeHand food donations include: Beagle Buddies, Greyhound Pets, Indianapolis Animal Care and Control and Indy Pit Crew.

“We are proud to announce the introduction of FreeHand dog foods in our clinic,” said Dr. Bill Neumann, DVM and medical director at Broad Ripple Animal Clinic and Wellness in Indianapolis. “FreeHand has a noble mission that we support wholeheartedly – to provide dog food donations to local rescue groups and shelters. The FreeHand buy-one-give-one concept is great and unique in that donations are given to local organizations as opposed to programs that send donations someplace around the world.”

Find a list of retailers offering FreeHand products by visiting, or call (855) GIVEBAK. You can also learn more about the movement on Facebook and Twitter.

These Pets are Living the High Life

I found out something today about pet pampering that has my tongue wagging (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

It seems that the tokens of affection I present to my pets – extra comfy beds, entertaining toys, trips to the groomer and tasty treats – pale in comparison to the way others dote on their animals.

According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), U.S. pet owners will spend an estimated $50.84 billion in 2011. What in the world are people spending so much money on?

Food expenses top the list at $19.53 billion. Medical care also ranks high. But, pet owners also are dishing out dollars for luxuries such as massages, manicures, designer duds, travel gear and spa days. Hey, I’ve never had a spa day! Not unless you count the time I had my eyebrows arched and for one terrifying moment thought half of one was missing.

Don’t fret, my pet (just bear with me), it’s not all give and take. The APPA cites several health benefits of pet ownership. Among them:

  • Pets help to lower blood pressure. A recent study at the State University of New York at Buffalo found that people with hypertension who adopted a cat or dog had lower blood pressure readings in stressful situations than those who did not own a pet.
  • Pets help to prevent heart disease. Because pets provide people with faithful companionship, research shows they may also provide their owners with greater psychological stability, thus a measure of protection from heart disease.
  • Pets help to fight depression. Pets help fight depression and loneliness, promoting an interest in life. When seniors face adversity or trauma, affection from pets takes on great meaning. Their bonding behavior can foster a sense of security.

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