Dating someone who has problems with your first love — your pet — tends to become a big issue as a relationship progresses. Sisters Leigh D’Angelo and Casey Issacson witnessed this first-hand when Casey dated a guy who had problems with her dog. He just wasn’t a dog person and the sisters realized it would have been nice to know this kind of deal breaking information beforehand. Their solution: launching Dig in 2018. Leigh, a TV reporter, and Casey, who has a background in art direction, decided to create a solution in the form of their own dating app. Launched in 2018, Dig puts the four-legged friend in your life up front when looking for a human companion.
“As an older sister, I was motivated to help my sister find someone,” Leigh tells PaperCity. “And at the time, dating apps were becoming more niche. Whether they focused on religion, or prompting women to talk first, or there’s only one match a day. People were ready to try new things.”
You might think that the pandemic would put a damper on dating apps, but data shows the technology has been thriving over the past year. For Leigh and Casey, an increase in animal adoption during the pandemic has also helped drive more users to their app.
Last year, after seeing success with Dig, the company launched Tabby (for cat people) on International Cat Day. “We always knew that we were going to do cats too,” Leigh says. “We found that dog people wanted their own dating app, but that cat people needed a dating app.” Leigh notes a 2011 study from Colorado State University that found that men who add their cats to their dating app profiles are less dateable.
“There’s a stigma around cat people, but especially cat guys,” Leigh says. Although, according to Leigh, cat guys tend to be responsible, compassionate, and loving, there’s still a notion that cat guys tend to be more neurotic and introverted.
When launching Tabby, Dig Dates brought on Instagram personality Nathan Kehn (aka @nathanthecatlady) and former rapper Sterling Davis, who quit his music career to launch his cat rescue, TrapKing Humane Cat Solutions.
Dig and Tabby connect pet lovers looking for love, but the apps also feature special deals from pet companies, while ad materials also share educational information about animals and promote adoption. In Dallas specifically, Dig Dates has teamed up with SPCA of Texas to help drive adoptions.
Like every company during the pandemic, Dig and Tabby have had to adjust for a socially-distanced world. They launched a website version of their apps now that many users are no longer in the office (where they might have to be more discreet with dating apps). Dig and Tabby have also started hosting digital happy hours. The very first Tabby happy hour will be launching in Dallas on March 19, with both Nathan Kehn and Sterling Davis set to host the virtual event.