Pampered Pets Proliferate

A formative, family-friendly factoid from a survey or study in the news.

American pet owners spend more than $40 billion on their pets each year. This staggering figure owes not only to the sheer volume of pet owners — two-thirds of U.S. citizens own at least one animal companion, and nearly half of those share living space with more than one — but also to the mushrooming array of pricey goods and services “pet parents” are snapping up. Yesterday’s absurdities (think doggie daycare, pet cemeteries, elaborate novelty apparel and veterinary services to match the finest human healthcare) are now common purchases, according to a recent survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. Meanwhile the Catechism reminds us that, as God’s creatures, animals bless us by their existence and deserve our kindness — but it’s possible to take a good thing too far. We do that when we spend money on pets that “should as a priority go to the relief of human misery,” No. 2418 points out. “One can love animals; one should not direct to them the affection due only to persons.”