• Consumer-spending trends have shifted since the pandemic lockdowns, which means you now have to be selective when it comes to pet stocks, CNBC's Jim Cramer said Friday.
  • General Mills and Smucker are good safety names that may still offer promising access to this niche.

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A Covid hangover is upon us, which means we just don't do things we did during lockdown, CNBC's Jim Cramer said on Friday.

We're buying fewer personal computers and spending less on our homes — and instead prioritizing travel and leisure.

Pets may be subtle casualties of the current "long on money, short on time" spending mode, Cramer said.

At one point, money seemed no object when it came to taking care of pets.

"Virtually everything pet-related made fortunes for investors and companies crowded into the category to take advantage of it," Cramer said.

While the "humanization of pets" is still in play, not all companies stand to benefit, Cramer said.

"Now you have to be more selective with the pet plays," Cramer said.

Pure pet plays like Petco and Chewy have become "two of the most controversial stocks in the entire market," Cramer said.

Petco still has too much debt as a $2.3 billion company with $4.2 billion in total liabilities, Cramer said. Meanwhile, Chewy is barely expected to break even next year based on pure earnings per share numbers, he said.

But if you like the pet theme and don't want to take a lot of risk, General Mills is a buying option. The company is a "great safety name" if you're worried about the economy, Cramer said. The pet segment was also instrumental in helping General Mills put up the best numbers of the quarter of any consumer-packaged goods company aside from Hershey, he said.

Smucker is also "another good safety play with a pet food kicker" that can work its way higher, Cramer said. The company has doubled down on its pet snack food business with Milk-Bone, and otherwise touts strong coffee and peanut butter brands.

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