China is experiencing a boom in pet identification services

IN In response to China’s growing pet population, a unique profession has emerged: pet detectives.

These self-proclaimed investigators specialize in finding lost pets, primarily cats and dogs.

According to the South China Morning Post, the detectives are typically self-employed and active on social media and e-commerce platforms, and can earn up to 30,000 yuan (about RM19,434) a month thanks to rising demand.

Despite the charming title, the job requires stamina, physical fitness and keen observation skills to track down animals that often hide in hard-to-reach places.

Knowledge of technology such as thermal imaging cameras is helpful in investigations. These devices can cost around 20,000 yuan (approximately RM12,954).

In addition, clients only pay when they return their pet, which increases the pressure to deliver immediate results.

The surge in demand is reflected in the fact that the number of online searches for “looking for cats and dogs” almost quadrupled in the first half of the year, according to Xianyu, China’s largest e-commerce platform for used goods.

This trend highlights the emotional importance of pets in people’s lives, which is reflected in China’s growing pet population. In 2023, there were 52 million dogs and 70 million cats, an increase from the previous year, according to the pet industry white paper.

Liu Wei, a pet detective, recalls opening his business in 2012. He was inspired by the warm reactions of pet owners when they see their beloved companions again, especially among older animal lovers.

He admitted that there was a time when he considered giving up because of the low income, but he stuck with it because he knows how important his services are to pet owners.

“I can’t describe how I feel in these moments,” he said.