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Cat Strollers and Live Food for Your Pets

Friday, 21 Sep 2007 | 11:18 AM ET
Cat Stroller
Cat Stroller

"I have a stroller for my cat," the attractive young woman said with a Cheshire grin.

"How much did it cost?" I asked.

"Oh, about $140, but I don't care," she answered.

That's exactly what the 8,000 people at the SuperZoo 2007 trade show in Las Vegas are counting on. It's a $41 billion business and growing by double digits, all with things for pets. From food (some of which is alive) to organic leashes and collars.

For whatever the reason, more and more of us are treating our pets as members of the family. Not just "pets," but "members." What's good for the kids is good for the dog. What's good for my husband is good for the cat.

One of the overriding trends since the pet food "scare" earlier this year is the accountability of the food sources. All natural, all organic, "Made in America" foods are the rage. Food for pets is now processed in the same plants that process food for you and me. And the food is starting to look and sound like "human" food -- frozen yogurt for dogs??? Yup.

In an environment in which they're producing painting kits for pets ("No mess," it says. Sure...), who is it making this stuff? As in any industry this big, there are the "big dogs." But perhaps more than any other business I've seen, this is a market filled with entrepreneurs. People who had other jobs, but came up with something their pets love, and now they're making it for all of us.

Wigs for dogs. Yes, wigs for dogs is the perfect example. Two biologists from Southern California made wigs for their dogs for a local "pet parade." Their friends and neighbors wanted some, their relatives wanted some, and now, they have a booth at the show. They're distributing dog wigs all over the country and having a blast.

Wigs for dogs. Is this a great country or what?

"Mike on America" will be in a few bars and tattoo parlors the rest of the week in Vegas -- stay tuned to see what gets "inked" and what doesn't.

Don't even think about that!

Questions? Comments? mikeonamerica@nbcuni.com