Can fluffy kittens soften Uber's image?

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 5 February 2015

Uber has suffered some bad press lately and to rectify the situation, it's looking to appeal to the hearts and minds of the Australian public by giving the people what they want: on demand kittens.

Called #Uberkittens, the car service has partnered with local animal shelters to deliver an adorable kitten for customers to play with for 15 minutes, in what it is calling “the cutest day in Uber history”.

Customers can jump onto the service using the “kittens” option in the Uber app between 12pm and 4pm in selected Australian cities – Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Geelong, Perth and Sydney - for the low, low price of $40 because, really, who can put a price on happiness?

All funds raised go to participating animal shelters.

“Following the huge success of Uberkittens in the US, we were inundated with requests from riders and some amazing local shelters to bring it to our shores so we could share the kitten love and spread the word about the importance of finding much needed homes for our furry friends,” Uber's Australian blog said.

But with recent scandals including rape allegations, suggestions of surge pricing during the Sydney siege, and ethically-questionable remarks by senior VP Emil Michael regarding journalist's personal lives, is it enough to change perceptions? With #Uberkittens already the second most popular Twitter handle in Australia, signs are suggesting it just might do the trick.

Uber is also expecting customers to be wooed by the ploy. warning that anyone eyeing off the kitten service had better get in quick or miss out.

“Demand for kittens will be high and availability very limited as a result,” Uber said. “It may take multiple requests and you'll have to be lucky to find available kittens. We'll be working hard to deliver as many kitten snuggles as possible.” We hope so Uber.

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