Think about this: There are more than 75 million baby boomers in the U.S., and we control about 70% of the country’s disposable income. We also make up a significant portion of pet parents: Nearly 80 million U.S. households own a pet, according to the American Pet Products Association; of these, 37% are baby boomers.
Put it all together, and we boomers shell out a big chunk of the estimated $60 billion Americans spend on our companion animals each year. Why? Well, maybe we’re compensating for an empty nest. Maybe we have too damn much money. Or maybe:
We spoil our pets for
the same reason dogs lick their
balls: because we can.
Regardless, according to a 2015 Nielsen poll, 95% of U.S. pet owners consider their pets to be part of the family. We like to pamper them. And there’s no shortage of products and services with which to do so, including organic pet food, pet health insurance (more of a necessity than an indulgence these days, given the cost of veterinary care!), pet clothing, and boarding and grooming establishments that are more like high-end hotels and spas.
But that’s not all. Here are a few other, um, interesting offerings for pets today:
Pet wine: So you never have to drink alone
Denver-based Apollo Peak launched its “cat wine”—a blend of organic catnip and beets—with catchy names like Pinot Meow and MosCATo. They now have varietals for dogs—ZinfanTail and CharDOGnay—whose organic herbs promise to soothe digestive issues. Florida’s Petwinery.com also has non-alcoholic beverages for cats (Meowsling and Purrgundy) and dogs (FetchMe Grigio and FetchMe Noir). Made with filtered water enriched with salmon oil, the cat varietals are infused with catnip, the canine ones with organic bacon extract.
Hot Doll: A sex toy for horny dogs
Tired of your dog humping your leg? Leave it to the French to come up with a solution. It’s an anatomically correct plastic “companion” designed for “the utmost comfort of your pet” with “stability, strength, ergonomics”—everything he ever wanted in a sex partner, right? Hot Doll’s legs won’t slide on the floor (for “extreme grip”) and replacement “cones” (i.e., vaginas) can be ordered separately. Oh, and Hot Doll—ahem—comes in both black and white. Retail price? €189.00 (about $212.00). Ooh, la la.
PooTrap®: Catch droppings before they hit the ground
Heaven forbid you should bend down to the ground to retrieve your dog’s doodoo. Now you can attach a plastic bag to your dog’s backside to catch it. The PooTrap contraption involves a harness and a magnetic u-shaped thingy that fits around the anus and to which you attach the bag. “Feel free to take it off when your dogs (sic) finished and show a relieved smile at you,” says the PooTrap website. The site is worth a visit just to read the FAQs, evidently written by someone for whom English is not their first language.
An emotion-translator for dogs and cats
Ever wonder what your pet is feeling when it barks or meows? The Bow-Lingual and Meow-Lingual translators—which resemble a small walkie-talkie—analyze your pet’s utterances, produce a graphic depiction of the emotion it’s feeling, then supply a phrase that represents what your pet would say if it could talk. Like, “WTF were you thinking, spending money on this ridiculous thing?” It’s available on Amazon for $69.99.
Neuticles: Testicular implants for neutered dogs
Have your dog’s gonads gone missing? Help him maintain his self-confidence by replacing his snipped-off balls with silicone ones. According to the Neuticles website, over a half-million caring pet owners have found these implants to be a “completely safe, practical and inexpensive option” that allows pets to retain their natural look and self-esteem—and aids the pet owner with the emotional trauma associated with altering. I think they should be called Neuroticles.
Relief for the agony of whisker stress in cats
Apparently, whisker stress—caused when a cat’s sensitive whiskers continually hit the sides of its food bowl—causes agonizing discomfort. Dr. Catsby’s Cat Bowl is a wide, gently sloped stainless steel dish that gives your cat access to its food without having to pull back its whiskers (wouldn’t a saucer do the same thing?). Given the facial hairs sprouting on my upper lip and chin, it’s probably a good thing I use utensils or else I’d be suffering from whisker stress.
PetChatz®: Video chat with your pet when you’re away
For a mere $379.00, with PetChatz you can create a “totally immersive connection” with your pet when you’re away from home. This wifi-enabled device with two-way audio and video not only lets you check in via smart phone, tablet or computer and “be there” for your dog or cat, but it also enables them to call you with the push of a button. It also dispenses PetChatz Treatz®, and PetChatz Scentz® pads can be infused with your pet’s favorite scent (his dog buddy’s butt, perhaps?).
Socialization beyond the dog park
Los Angeles-area Pussy & Pooch is an “innovative pet lifestyle boutique geared toward the modern pet.” Among its offerings are a gourmet café (“Pawbar”) for animals to meet new friends, and “Mutt Mingles” and “Cat Socials” a few times a month for play dates. Its four locations also offer a pet treadmill for dogs that don’t want to get their feet dirty, and a VIP Nap Room for dogs with soothing Zen music and a pet-friendly movie.
Now I’ll admit that I buy fairly expensive prescription food for my cat with kidney disease, along with special limited-ingredient food for the other cat who has an irritable bowel. And we pay a sitter to stay at (not merely visit) our home whenever we travel.
As for these other offerings, well, I might consider some cat wine just to see how Kirby and Tess would react. But I’d never need that emotion translator. Why? Because I already know what they’re feeling. I am their mom, after all.
What about you? Got pets? Do you pamper them? Would you consider buying any of these products? Are there other products or services you’ve purchased that some folks might consider over the top? Please share!