April 06, 2011

Pet Conspiracy

With restrictions on the number of babies a family can pop out, people in China tend to pour their excess affection into pets once their child leaves home. Cats and dogs are pampered to no end. The love of the owner is directly proportional to their purchasing power. Showered with luxuries previously saved for heads of state, the pets are groomed at expensive parlours and clothed in the latest trends. The pet care industry is booming in China, as I found out one night after dinner.

As I exited from a restaurant located in the second floor of a high rise building, I heard the delightful squeals of Chinese girls nearby. Usually the generator of such sounds, I wanted to know what else could engender such excitement. I walked the halls until I echo-located a group of girls looking through a glass door. On the other side was a wonderland for cats. Over two dozen of the finest felines I had ever laid eyes on were lounging about a pussy paradise. Most were sitting on the floor, some were using the upholstered furniture available to them, and others had opted for private rooms. None could speak English.

While the day care center for cats was an eye opener, it was not the strangest site I witnessed. Even among pets, there is a hierarchy. In Shanghai, three dogs were pulling a miniature chariot down the street. A flag of the People's Republic of China was proudly flying from the chariot mast, while Shanghai Expo decals had been pasted on to the sides. The chariot seat was occupied by a cat.


"Dogs have owners, cats have staff." ~ Anonymous