I Think Therefore I Rant: Pet Peeves

Every year pet food looks more and more like human food. The packaging is becoming more similar and so are the contents. There’s a variety of cat food with broth that (at least in the commercial I saw) looks a lot like a bowl of soup a human being might consume. I can buy canned cat food with a lid that removes itself, even though I enjoy no such luxury when I buy canned tuna for myself.

I understand the impulse to make pet food look less disgusting. This way the people feeding the animals aren’t nauseated by the task. But there are a few products I take issue with. They don’t just make snacks for dogs and cats; they make appetizers too. Appetizers! I’m just waiting for the day when I’ll be expected to cook for my pets or offer them a beverage other than water. I suspect energy drinks for dogs are just around the corner.

Didn’t we all finally agree that the cat with a bowl of milk cliché has lived all of its nine lives? Isn’t it now widely known and accepted that cats are lactose intolerant? Then why is one brand of cat food making a cheddar cheese variety? Whose cat goes crazy for cheese? My husband once had a cat that loved cantaloupe, so I suppose anything is possible, but I’m skeptical of the notion that cats are clamoring for cheese.

What I think is happening here is that pet food companies are trying to appeal to human tastes. They know that we have so anthropomorphized our animals that we’ll readily assume they want what we want or need what we need. Never mind that cats are lactose intolerant. People love cheese, so let’s put it in cat food! Some humans are trying to be healthy. Let’s get them feeling guilty about not feeding their dogs enough vegetables (even though their wild and ancestral counterparts aren’t rooting around for carrots and peas). Fluffy and Fido should also have organic options. And let’s have low calorie offerings, because if the people are dieting, then their animals must be.

If our pets are fat, we’re to blame. Why are perfectly healthy dogs riding around in strollers? Who decided these dogs needed or wanted to be pushed around? Just because the thought of walking down the block is enough to leave some people feeling pre-exhausted, doesn’t mean their canine companions can’t handle it. I’m confident that even the smallest of dogs can out-walk the average human on any ordinary outing. If a three-legged dog can run and fetch and keep up with her four-legged friends, then Lord Furrybottom can make it to the grocery store on his own steam.

So please remove your healthy dog from the stroller, baby carrier, or whatever other contraption we used to reserve for human infants and let your dog be a dog like a dog is supposed to be—paws on the ground, nose sniffing some other dog’s butt, marking territory, and loving you unconditionally.

One thought on “I Think Therefore I Rant: Pet Peeves

  1. O.k., lady, I am gonna pick up this gauntlet. I am a dog lover. In fact, I’d say that my canine companion is a member of our family that has brought us immeasurable joy. For the last three years we’ve even gone so far as to plan our vacations around including our furry friend.

    A few months ago we decided to travel to Washington D.C. to see the Cherry Blossoms with our pooch in tow. And, while we believe in walking and letting our dog enjoy all her doggie senses while sight-seeing, we also knew there would be crowds galore. And I mean MASSES. So, yes, we purchased a stroller. We became THOSE people, but here’s the deal… The stroller was a God-send. After being out for hours in the unusual heat for April, and when the crowds were elbow deep we were thankful to be able to tuck our dog into her wheeled shelter and not worry about her getting stepped on,(easy for a pooch low to the ground), dehydrated, or otherwise harmed. As an added bonus when taking public transportation we were able to keep her enclosed and away from those who consider our adorable cockapoo a menace to society because of their own dog phobias/aversions, not to mention save on costs by taking mass transit (not to mention option for the eco-friendlier route).

    All this is to say that when you are a dog lover you just do what needs to be done to make sure your beloved pet is safe, even when it leaves you wide open for criticism. I agree that there are extremes. Orphans in the world would have been better served than Leona Helmsley’s cats from her extravagant trust fund, and it’s disturbing when
    dogs become the sole fixation of their owners to the exclusion of humanity (even though I get it — how much LESS complicated is it to love a being that loves you unconditionally than deal with people). What it comes down to is this – dog/pet ownership is not for everyone, but so long as I continue to care for people as much as I care about my dog I can live with myself for opting for her grain-free, veggie loaded dog chow..


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