DALLAS, TX—It is a feline paradise in Dallas, where cats are king. The Cat Connection features all kinds of products related to the well-being of felines and business is booming.
"I shop here for quality food," said Errin West, who has five cats.
West says she spends $200-$300 per month on her pets and that is just fine with the pet lover who believes good food is a must.
"My husband and I eat healthy foods, so we think our animals shouldn't be any different."
That is the trend among pet owners. Despite the recession, this year people in the United States will spend $50 billion on their animals, according to the American pet Products Association. Experts say spending in the pet economy has been increasing for almost a decade. But, they are also spending smart.
"People are just looking for the necessities, like the better quality food," Jay Horwitz, owner of Cat Connection, said.
Officials think the increased spending may also be about a sense of security and comfort in the rough economy. Pet owners are turning to their pets to feel good in an unsure climate and spending more in the process.
At East Lake Veterinary Clinic in Dallas, the number of baths and grooming procedures are up by about 15% this year. The dog spa expanded to seven days a week just to accommodate customers.
"I don't think people are willing to compromise when it comes to grooming and general healthy," said Dr. Karen Fling, the clinic's owner.
Most don't see an end in sight to the pet spending, as people continue to splurge on their Fido or Fluffy.