Here’s one for you: My mother recently noticed that cat food coupons are more enticing than dog food coupons. They’re not only more plentiful than those for dog foods, she notes, they also offer far better deals (which is doubtless a maddening concept for a coupon-clipping, cat-less pet owner). 

What’s up with that? Considering that –– veterinary-wise, anyway –– cats are second-class citizens relative to their canine counterparts, how is it that cat owners get better deals than dog people? 

I mean, if cats get treated to about half as much veterinary care as dogs do (American Pet Products Association 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey), how is it that cats get a leg up on dogs when it comes to savings? 

Well, it’s kind of obvious...if you think about it long enough. If cats really are less cared for (on average), wouldn’t it stand to reason their owners would be more price sensitive about food? Coupon-clipping cat owners, it seems, are sufficiently more unwilling than dog owners to pay more to stick to the same food every week –– not when any old brand of cat food’ll do. 

Then there’s the feral factor or the backyard stash of cats to feed. In either case, the cheapest food will do the trick. After all, these are not the loved and adored you pamper indoors with treats and toys, fancy foods and high-end veterinary care. Nope. Whatever species-specific diet works best for their wallet is what it’s all about. 

So that explains it...sort of. Where I’m still stuck is why cats tend to get the shorter end of the rabies pole...when there’s no good reason to shortchange them with lowest common denominator food. Too bad most American pet owners don't tend to see it that way.