Every pet owner will tell you they do not care for dogs and cats, but family. Pets are like furry children in almost every case. The pet product industry is huge and that is a reflection of their importance to pet parents. It is also an indication of how much we spoil them. Nothing wrong with that either.
Have you ever watched someone choosing pet food for their animals? Cat people seem to be the worse. If they don’t pick up the box with several cans in it, and choose pet flavors by the can, it can be a very long experience, especially if you are waiting behind them to do the very same thing.
We look at the flavors and try to imagine what our pet would choose for himself if they could. Questions arise in your mind; do they prefer mackerel over tuna? Are they really bigger fans of chicken than beef? Then we get into the type of food. Do your cats prefer bits over pate? Mine love the ones with tiny treasures like cheese in them. Some cats love the pate, but it seems to contain lots of water. Same reason I didn’t serve my daughter prepared baby food very often after the first couple months. At that time, back in the mid 60’s we were more on our own to learn about better nutrition. Anyway, I usually buy the bits, never the shredded as that reminds me of play dough. The cats most times will eat anything, but as cats are known to get finicky every now and then, it is never a sure thing.
The same thing occurs in the dog food aisles. There are many great foods available, but sometimes even our big boy just wants a change and what they loved yesterday they hate today. It makes no difference whether it has yams or cranberries or salmon suddenly they want junk food and will readily eat it. Sounds like their owners. Some are just hard to please other pets are very fickle. Besides their personal tastes, food needs to be picked for good nutrition.
It is no better when we search for the perfect toy. It takes longer to pick that than to shop for housewares. With stuff for your house you must collect items that match or coordinate, at least we do not do that with pet toys. We do, however, check the material they are made of so as to be as close to indestructible as possible. We try to find the right size. Sometimes, we even check out the colors even though dogs are colorblind and cats really could be bothered less. We stand their restlessly jumping from one foot to the other as we speculate about which animal will please Duke or Snowball best. Cats love almost anything with catnip, feathers and bells. If it is a mouse or a bird, it will probably do. Dogs like those toys they can ‘kill’ and produce a very noisy squeak, they especially like these at night.
We have almost always had large dogs and could- care- less cats and never really worried about suitable clothing for the pets. Some pets are always cold and they do need coats and sweaters. There again, picking outerwear for a pet seems overly exhausting since now you need to match the item to their personality and make sure it fits. Snowball will look stupid in a Biker’s vest and Duke will be insulted when you try to put a tutu on him. Some pets really have a much better wardrobe than I do and I’m considering asking their parents to adopt me. The only practical thing I saw since the clothing for pet fad exploded was the boots for my son’s Golden Lab that he takes hunting. Our area, the wilder part, where such activities take place, have many cacti and the needles are very harmful to a pet’s foot. But, I’m still pretty convinced they do not need Halloween costumes, but we have put bandanas around our retriever’s necks. Costumes can look adorable on pets, but not sure they appreciate the humiliation of it.
Pet owners love to find the perfect collars and leashes for their charges, but sometimes the whole selection process seems a bit much, especially finding a collar that fits a new kitten. Even after punching several new holes in the collar, it still looks like they can only wear it if three or four kittens share the same one at the same time.
While this discussion could include bath products, beds, condos and medicines, parents of pets must still stay on a budget. Some of these items may not be necessary, but, they wish to spoil their pets. It’s okay and sometimes the rent can wait and you can indulge your pet in their favorite whatever; just remember they shouldn’t become homeless in order for them to have the latest fashions.
Spoiling pets is appropriate because pets give us so much. It is natural that when we love them in return, material possessions are the way we say it.