Pet gadgets fuel furry family values

Pet gadgets fuel furry family values

Pet gadgets fuel furry family values
August 1, 2005
If only because they always take our side in domestic disputes, pets are now considered to be part of the family.

And when in a feud, it’s always good to have someone on your side with a jaw strength of 500 pounds per square inch, just to have something that matches up well against Aunt Sally.

Yet all this animal social promotion is blurring the line between us and them with each passing generation.

For example, more and more Digital Slobs now fall asleep “spooning” with pets — and increasingly in their beds, because they smell better.

And many Respectable People not only put pets in wills, but are inquiring about giving them power of attorney as well.

All this helps explain why pet gadgets fly off shelves. This month we continue looking at some standouts:

Remote Controlled Mouse, $15 ( For wild cats, it’s “kill or be killed.” For domesticated cats, it’s “torment or be tormented.”

If a feline lords this stark philosophy over your household, your only practical defense is a good offense.

This battery-operated toy helps humans keep cats on the floor, in attack posture and entertained, rather than on top of your morning paper, on the kitchen table and bored.

But here’s a cost-cutting tip for cash-strapped Slobs: Just throw a sack of potatoes behind the freezer in the garage, give the Orkin Pest Control guy six months off, then sit back and watch the real games begin.

Thermo-Perch, $40 ( This 12-volt coated-wire branch warms your bird’s talons in its cage. Of course, add a hundred more volts and a rotating motion and it would be the Thermo-Rotisserie, but unless you regularly take your cockatiel on food runs to Boston Market, it should gladly grab on without any inhibitions.

Gentle Spray, $65 ( Just like most callers on “Larry King Live” and every House majority leader in Congress since 1937, some dogs just don’t know when to shut up. If your pup’s barking compulsion reaches Howard Hughes levels, stick this collar-mounted device under his neck and watch it spritz a lemon-fresh scent on him.

Fantasy upgrade: If the device could detect key words, you could buy two for your parents, rigged to go off every time they brag about one of your more successful siblings.

Ionic Bath Pet Brush, $40 ( It’s bad enough when you meet new friends for dinner and after the door opens, they take a big sniff and say, “You’re a pet owner, aren’t you?” The fact that you’re visiting their house only exaggerates the point.

The typical fix is a messy process that leaves you with two bruised knees and an handful of wet, soapy hair pulled from your bathtub drain.

But the maker of this device offers another solution. Each brushstroke emits a stream of ion-rich air that extends the new-car smell the groomers gave your pet last week.

For Respectable People, it might be the magic device that eliminates the last foul smell from their home. Slobs may be disappointed, however, once they discover it doesn’t work on the hair growing on the dishes in their kitchen sink.


Curt Brandao is a Shreveport native and newspaper editor in Hawaii. Contact him at or through his Web site,

©The Shreveport Times
August 1, 2005

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