Cats for rent -- is this a new idea whose time has come or some crazy notion by
crazy people? Well, it's neither. What it IS is a movie that was
released in Japan last year. The same country that brought the world the
iconic Godzilla and large number of other movie monsters has gone the
funny, charming, and heart-warming route with "Rent-a-Cat."Rent-A-Cat (You Tube Image)Rent-A-Cat (You Tube Image)

The movie, aka Rentaneko, is a different take on the image of the crazy cat lady. Sayoko is a young woman who is left alone in a large house after the death of her grandmother. For some reason cats are just naturally drawn to Sayoko and seem to seek her out.

Her "crazy" is not in hoarding a bunch of cats in squalor. Indeed her home is spotless and the cats impeccably cared for. Her crazy is that she loads up several cats in a hand cart shaded with an umbrella and goes out to try to rent them out.

Rent-A-Cat (You Tube Image)Rent-A-Cat (You Tube Image)Each day she walks along the banks of the river calling out through her little megaphone that she has cats for rent to help lonely people fill their lives and hearts. There would be no story here if she did not find a few lonely hearts with whom to share her felines.

She first meets an older woman who has lost the two loves of her life, her husband and her cat. The woman feels that she is too old to own another cat so she chooses to rent instead. Sayoko also rents to a man who has moved away from his family for work and a receptionist who questions her existence.

While Sayoko is helping others fill the emptiness in their lives, she herself is plagued by loneliness and a desire to attract people into her life as much as she is able to attract cats. Then a young man from her past reappears and follows her home. He is far more interested in her than in her cats. That is when her life suddenly falls apart. 

Rent-A-Cat (You Tube Image)Rent-A-Cat (You Tube Image)

In spite of all of the cats, this is no fairy tale, and Sayoko's suitor is no Prince Charming. He brings with him a checkered past. No spoilers on the ending here. You'll have to watch the movie to find out if things end with a full heart for Sayoko or not (see link below).

The movie is in Japanese with English subtitles. To watch the entire delightful movie and find out what happens when one rents a cat, click here.

So, really, can you rent a cat? Apparently so. Instead of being cute little pets, you can rent a mouser to come into your home and catch the mice that are driving you crazy. It is an environmentally-conscious way to dispose of the rodents without the use of poison. For more information on renting a cat, click here.

Sources: AsianWiki, Japan Society, The Japan Times