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Urban millennial seek companionship with “e-cats”

By Yunxin Bao (People's Daily Online)    14:30, December 28, 2017

Enjoying cats online has become a popular activity among urban youth who identify themselves as “empty nested youth.” Instead of getting a real cat that needs to be cared for, browsing through cat images and videos online is burden-free and creates a similar feeling of companionship and intimacy.

In addition to browsing through random posts on social media and discussion forums, an online game was created where players can select and purchase “e-cats” of various breeds, colors, and ages. According to official statistics, total sales have reached nearly $8 million, with over 70 thousand virtual cats sold.

On Weibo, one famous pet blogger has attracted almost 30 million followers by posting causal videos and pictures of his Scottish Fold and Samoyed, named Niuniu and Duanwu, respectively.

As they pursue a career, many millennials have to leave their hometown and move to big cities, where they live alone. The fast-paced urban lifestyle and intense external pressure leave little space for social events and entertainment, which inevitably causes a sense of loneliness and need for intimacy.

According to the 2016 China Annual Pet Industry White Paper, 73% of the 6 million cat owners are the post-80s and 90s, and female owners make up two thirds of the total. In comparison, the primary group of cat keepers in Japan is empty-nested elders.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Bianji, Hongyu)

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