I received this letter 13 years ago - and wickedly hung onto it for just an occasion as this:
I know you are always interested in looking for opportunities for investment. I don't know if you would be interested in this, but I thought I would mention it to you because it could be a real "sleeper" in making a lot of money with very little investment.
A group of us are considering investing in a large cat ranch near Columbia, South Carolina. It is our purpose to start rather small, with about one million cats. Each cat averages about 12 kittens each year; skins can be sold for about 20 cents for the white ones and up to 40 cents for the black. This will give us 12 million cat skins per year to sell at an average price of around 32 cents, making our revenues about $3 million a year. This really averages out to $10 thousand a day - excluding Sundays and holidays.
A good cat man can skin about 50 cats per day at a wage of $3.65 per hour. It will take only 663 men to operate the ranch, the net profit would be over $8,200 per day.
Now, the cats would be fed on rats exclusively. Rats multiply four times as fast as cats. We would start a rat ranch adjacent to our cat farm. If we start with a million rats, we would have four rats per day for each cat. The rats will be fed on the carcasses of the cats that we skin. This will give each rat a quarter of a cat. You can see by this that this business is a clean operation, self-supporting and really automatic throughout. The cats will eat the rats and the rats will eat the cats and we will get the skins.
Let me know if you are interested; as you can imagine, I am rather particular who I want to get into this, and want the fewest investors possible.
Eventually, it is my hope to cross the cats with snakes, for they will skin themselves twice a year. This will save labor costs of skinning as well as give me two skins for one cat.
May I hear from you at your earliest opportunity.
Well, after much calculations - I decided to decline this speculative venture. But there was some valid points made, don't you think?