by Razvan Florea

The animal welfare app: Snapcat, 1.0.meowed

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Cue the intro!

Snapcat is the latest product released by #FXBITS. It's naming similarity to the long-lasting and more popular social media platform "Snapchat" was not on purpose, though we don't mind the certain ring that it brings. Our application is however just as engaging, though it has a totally different purpose, barely touching the social media topic. Or at least, not for humans 🐈.

What is Snapcat and why is it useful?

Snapcat is a web application meant for identifying the areas in Cluj-Napoca where homeless cats live. There are a lot of volunteers in Cluj, some of them helping Non-Profit Organizations, that are trying to track and keep notes of the homeless cats.

The purpose is finding and sterilizing these cats in order to prevent uncontrollable breeding, and keeping this phenomenon under control. In addition to this, other medical check-ups are performed upon the cats, to make sure they are healthy.

Does this mean that we aim for the extinction of cats? No, quite the opposite actually: it means taking care of the existing cats that are less fortunate and do not have a family of their own.

There are a lot of veterinary clinics that are more than willing to be part of this project and limit the suffering of possible future generations of homeless cats.

Here is where #Snapcat comes into play. Our application lets the user select different areas on the map and describe their current situation. To make it easy, the areas have associated statuses:

    🐈  Needs Attention → an area where there are a lot of cats that have not yet been sterilized.

    🐈  Under Treatment → an area containing some known cases of homeless cats that have been sterilized but still other that are waiting to be taken care of.

    🐈  Safe Playground → all the cats reported in this area are sterilized and monitored.

Besides, each zone may have a designated assignee, that takes responsibility for the cats living there.

Each case is documented so that we know if the cat is sterilized or not and pictures may be added so that it's easier to identify the cat in question.

The application is easy to use, captivating and a long fancy description would be meaningless, given that it's so easy to take a look for yourself:

Why did we create Snapcat?

We were aware of this issue through one of our colleagues, an animal welfare volunteer, who brought it to our attention as an area where we could make a difference. We found the best approach to help out: organize a training program with a purpose. This is how our Spring Internship program was created.

Managing to help NGOs and growing our team were benefits of this program. We offered our new colleagues hand-on experience in working as a team, creating a product meant for actual real-life users, while learning new technologies.

What's in it for us?

Nowadays it's more and more difficult to see past the instant gratification and the materialistic rewards. As a company, our purpose should be making profit, right? Wrong.

Our purpose is to make a positive difference while solving meaningful problems, and yes, some of them make a profit as a value recognition. This one pays off on Karma accounting.

Snapcat is meant to help the community see the greater good.

It is always worth to see the greater good and chase the well-being of the community you live in, like making it a cat friendly neighbourhood. Try to do a good deed for someone else, and expect nothing in return.

Now that's a true warm feeling that will motivate you to "keep up the good work" (as most of the positive feedback from your peers might sound like).

Everybody wins!

By promoting this application we also aim to encourage outdoor activities and spending more time away from the keyboard and quite frankly away from the screens. Once you assign an "interest area", you are the main character in charge. Explore, have fun, bring a friend and get the most out of it!