Did you know 60% of cats in the US and the UK are deemed overweight? Obesity among cats can lead to a series of health issues which can lead to hefty vet bills.
And entrepreneur Jared Ruddy is no stranger to this. When his cat Bert accidently piled on the pounds, he found himself often making return trips to his local vets practice.
This led to Jared exploring different ways to try and keep his cat in tip top shape – without the costs that came with it.
“My cat Bert is what really inspired me to launch FitCat,” Jared told BQ. “He's a lazy (but handsome) British shorthair. Within two years, I'd made him fat.
“In this time, I did a little research and it showed that I wasn't alone - 60% of cats in the UK and US are obese. It's not just an aesthetics issue, it's really serious as fat cats are seven times more likely to get ill.
“Even the vet couldn't help me work out how much to feed him (his answer: "less”), so I built a device and an app, that helped get Bert back into shape.”
The SmartPad and SmartMonitor that come with FitCat help cat owners monitor their pet’s health and recommends the right nutritional plan to keep them in top shape.
After working in marketing, innovation and strategy for 10 years in the capital, Jared has helped launch a lot of new products and innovations in his time.
This year however, he decided to take a year off to study a full time MBA at Imperial Business School. It was here, when he met co-founder Andre.
Andre has worked for more than a decade in consulting, operations and IT for Fortune 500 organisations, from telecom companies to major retailers.
Together their combined skillsets have helped position FitCat as a market ready concept which they are set to launch later this year and have already received rave reviews.
“It was only when Andre and I met through the MBA that FitCat really took off,” Jared added. “We're both cat owners (Andre rescued two cats in Brazil, and brought them over to the UK) and could really identify with the issue.
“We've done really well in a series of competitions and our feedback from potential customers has been great. That's why we're pursuing it. There's a really big problem. We have a great answer. Most of all, we want to save the world from unfit kitties.”
The next stop for the duo is to officially get the product on the market and turn the concept into a reality.
Jared concluded: “We're expecting to launch before the end of the year to take pre-orders. We have our MVP in testing.
“We're going for seed funding and expect to raise this via a crowdfunding platform before Christmas. We're always interested to hear from investors - VCs or Angels.
“A lot of our time will be spent developing this to make sure it's easy to use and beautiful. We'll also spend our time developing a partner network, retail channels and driving pre-orders.”
If you're interested in testing the FitCat produt, or for more information on its launch, visit www.fitcat.io