It's not clear whether animals feel human emotions - but this cat seems to be doing a pretty good job of expressing outrage. Photograph: Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images
Britain is a nation ruled by its pets. We dote on our animals and allow them to dominate our lives. I am no different. Since I started working from home, at least 90% of my emails contain either a picture of my cat looking particularly cute, an account of my cat doing something adorable or a social media update in the imagined voice of my cat.
This sort of running commentary is perfectly legitimate as far as I'm concerned, since the cat is a lot more interesting and a lot less hairy and prone to falling asleep in the sun than some of my former colleagues. Even for someone as genuinely animal crackers as me, however, there are certain boundaries beyond which I believe our obsession with pets should not go.
Imbuing them with human emotions has always seemed a bit dicey, but there is invariably someone prepared to do it. Author David Alderton, whose book Animals Mourn is out on Monday, is the latest. But insisting that dogs, cats, gorillas, elephants, reptiles and birds all have strategies for coping with grief seems relatively reasonable when you consider the lengths some people go to for their pets ...
Are you a newly-bereaved animal lover? Why not spend $50,000 on a clone of your recently departed pet? It might feel like a positive step at first, but when you consider that you're only getting a genetically identical animal who looks like dear old Bonzo, but hasn't got his character, it could be less of a whizz-bang idea. And if you really stopped to think about what $50,000 would mean to any strapped-for-cash animal charity, you might end up feeling positively foolish. Still, it's your dosh.
Cloning your pets might be a ridiculous waste of time and money but at least you get a new animal out of it. In terms of sheer pointlessness, you'd have to go a long way to top marrying your pets in a £20,000 wedding ceremony, as Bev Nicholson and Louise Harris did in April of this year. Yorkshire terrier Lola wore a £1,000 Michele Ochs wedding dress as she walked down the aisle with Mugly, a Chinese crested voted Britain's Ugliest Dog back in 2005. Louise said that she was worried Lola was getting lonely and set out to find her a husband. "They do say opposites attract and they played happily together all day," she told the Daily Mail. "I thought [Mugly] was the perfect husband for Lola." The happily-ever-after aspect of the romance has been spoiled by the fact that Lola lives in Chelmsford and Mugly in Peterborough, meaning that they only see each other once a month.
Copenhagen-based label Chien Bizzare caused a bit of a stir earlier this year when it announced its new range of Danish mink fur coats aimed at dogs. Clearly keen to go about its business in a responsible and thoughtful manner, the label issued a press release with the following footnote: "Always make sure to put the health of the dog before anything else. Situations where it is too hot for the dog to wear fur can occur. Always make sure the dog has access to fresh water." Quite.
Now this one genuinely is a load of old balls. Actually, if we're being scrupulously accurate it's a load of new balls, for Neuticles are prosthetic testicles that "allow your pet to retain his natural look, self esteem and help with the trauma" associated with neutering, according to their inventor Gregg Miller. Kim Kardashian is a fan, opting to have them installed following the neutering of her boxer dog, Rocky. Actually, again in the interests of scrupulous accuracy, it was Rocky who had them installed – just in case that wasn't quite clear. Still, with a pricing scheme starting at $94 a pop, they're a relative snip (sorry).
by Matt Thomas taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/oct/31/barking-mad-weird-world-pet-ownership