This Just In: Pet Stores Are Ripoffs

If there’s something dogs really, really don’t give a feces about, it’s brands. And cleanliness, and newness, and price. Same goes for cats. But keeping your pets happy and healthy is way cheaper than pet stores want you to think. To prove it, and help out, we’ve made this handy chart:

Exhibit 1: Powder-scented dog-feces reclamation bags ($12.99) vs. Any of the heptillion plastic grocery bags you have lying around (free)
Is there ANYTHING you want to pay money for that you’re going to cram full of dog feces and then ditch? Plastic bags are as free and easy to get as a dirty look. And as far as the “powder scenting” goes, you do remember that you’re filling these bags up with dog shit, right? And you’re probably not putting them in your curio cabinet. As far as the “biodegradable” aspect, I think reusing a grocery bag trumps that.

Exhibit 2: Stress reducing pheromone wipes ($15.49) vs. Petting your cat (free)
If your cat is so stressed out that you’re wiping your couch down with cat-calm pheromones, maybe you and your cat should move out of the locomotive factory you live in. Sure, some cats are spazzier than others, but I’ve never known a cat who’d rather you handi-wipe your furniture with tiger urine than receive some nice head rubbings. Pet your kitty.

Exhibit 3: Wooly Mice Cat Toys ($4.99) vs. A Wad of Paper or Pretty Much Anything
Look, I’m sure cats can have a good time with those mice. But I also know they can have a pretty good time with a bit of floss, a wad of paper, a penny, fleck of dust, a dead bug, or the phantom cat that lives on the other side of that door. It’s certainly not bad to get your cat some toys, but it’s worth remembering how not picky they are.

Exhibit 4: Kittywipes pet bath cloths ($7.49) vs. Your cat’s own tongue (free)
You can say a lot of things about cats—aloof, cold-blooded bird murderers, layers-down-on-what-you’
re-reading—but no one can say they’re dirty animals. They bathe themselves constantly, and they don’t buy many wipes. They have a great little, moist, barbed doohicky that lives in their mouths and does a damn good job of keeping them clean. They even like using it. Let them.

(Photo: darbidduckie)

Carrie McLaren & Jason Torchinsky are coeditors of Ad Nauseam: A Survivor’s Guide to American Consumer Culture. In previous lives, they worked together on the hopelessly obscure and now defunct Stay Free! magazine .