Hatch Pet Carrier – An Interview with the Inventor, Jon Mirsky
The Hatch pet carrier allows you to comfort and calm your cat or small dog without risk of your pet escaping. The patented Direct Reach system provides access to the interior of the carrier through an elastic entry portal, allowing pet parents to place a reassuring hand on their pet, introduce treats, or remove items from the interior. Currently, the product is being offered on the Kickstarter platform.
I asked Inventor and co-founder, Jon Mirsky, a Georgetown Law-trained animal advocate, for an interview about this new carrier.
How did you come up with the idea for the Hatch Pet Carrier?
Well, it all starts with having a cat for a best friend and always thinking about ways to make his life better.
My golden tabby, Junior – the love of my life – started to struggle with travel as he got older. He would get carsick and restless in his travel bag, and the yowling at the start of our journeys began to last longer than just those moments at the front door. The one thing that seemed to make the situation better was reaching into his carrier to comfort him. But Junior was a big, strong boy and he’d use the opportunity of a slightly open bag to force his way out altogether. And a cat on the loose can lead to a dangerous situation and/or get you in trouble with the authorities on public transportation.
I often thought to myself, “there has to be a better way into the bag than through a zippered opening!” I’m bad at accepting things as they are, which is a good launch point for invention. So I dreamed up this portal system based around an elastic aperture that would allow access to the bag’s interior without the worry of a zipper catching on his fur, or any sort of partial or full-blown escape. I started the process of patenting the system and began to travel around with a jerry-rigged carrier.
We just passed the one year anniversary of Junior’s passing, so I’m thinking of him a lot this week, and hope that the idea he inspired will make the world a better place for our furry friends.
What kind of testing was done on the “Hatch Patented Direct Reach Feature”? In other words, any idea on how it will hold up over time? Will the slit in the red area tear?
We’ve done a fair amount of testing on the aperture – it’s pretty durable, although it’s hard to simulate years of heavy, real-world use. We are still tinkering with some alternate materials to the neoprene on our prototype and will be looking to roll out the strongest, most durable aperture that still retains the necessary flexibility when our carrier goes into production later this year.
Did you enjoy the prototype process? What were some of your challenges in the process?
Yes! It’s so exciting to see your idea come to life and to sort through multiple potential designs for both the carrier and the portal system. We worked with some really talented people, including designer, Jed Crystal (who has his own pet line called Hepper), and a prototyping wizard, Matt Renna of Queen City Dry Goods. I think I speak for both my partner as well as myself when I say the process was all-consuming, exhausting, and exhilarating all at once. We’re so passionate about this product that we wanted to get everything just right!
Ragdoll cats tend to weigh more than 15 lbs – do you anticipate making a larger size Hatch for larger breed cats?
Definitely. We wanted to start with a carry-on friendly bag for airplane travel, but Junior, the inspiration behind Hatch, was almost 16 lbs. In cat terms, he was pretty massive – big, strong shoulders and very tall from tippy paws to the tip of his nose – so I have a lot of love for the bigger cats. We can’t wait to develop our next product, which will accommodate bigger animals and, we hope, be the second in a broader line of carriers in different sizes, styles and colors. But we have to succeed with this initial product first, so even if this carrier isn’t right for your kitty, be sure to tell all your cat loving friends about it because we need all the early supporters we can get!
So Hatch is airline approved?
Yes, we wanted our first carrier to be carry-on friendly, so we designed it to be as large as possible while still meeting the carry-on requirements of most major airlines. My partner, Anjali, has traveled with a prototype on Delta, American and United with no problems!
Are you excited about this product?
That’s an understatement! As animal lovers and pet parents, this product resonates with both Anjali and me on a very emotional level. We’ve used our prototypes pretty extensively and have seen firsthand how the Hatch Carrier transforms cat travel. With other carriers, it always felt like my cat was confined and isolated the moment I zipped up the soft bag or closed the metal gate on a hard carrier. With the Hatch Carrier, I can reestablish a physical connection with my animal at any point in our journey – whether it’s during those difficult first moments or deep into a trip. My cats feel more at home, less frightened, and more connected to me when we travel with our prototypes. I can’t wait to share that experience with other pet parents!
Besides carriers, do you plan on designing other cat products after the success of the Hatch Carrier Kickstarter campaign?
Personally, I’m always thinking about animals – and particularly cats – and so I definitely have ideas for future products and improvements to existing products. But I think my interests are confined to products that meet needs that really haven’t been met yet. I don’t think either Anjali or I are interested in selling just another widget – we want to offer products that make life better for both pets and their people!
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