The 2010 US Census revealed an astonishing fact about American families – there are now more households with furbabies than children…43 million of them, actually. And with growing numbers of furbabies, comes a burgeoning pet industry. In fact, the pet industry is one of few industries growing in spite of the recession, says the New York Times.

What are Furbabies?

Called furbabies, they’re the pets who have found heaven on earth with a human mommy and daddy – the kitties who dine on salmon and sushi, do weekly trips to the salon and holiday at the Kitty Ritz; the doggies who attend puppy classes when they’re little and, later, doggy day care; and who have doggy play dates on the weekends. While some furbabies are indeed over-indulged, others are just highly valued as true members on the modern family.

What do Furbabies Need?

As more people in the developed world choose furbabies over human children, the pet industry has expanded to cater to their needs and whims. Areas in the pet industry which are experiencing growth include:

  • Puppy socialisation classes
  • Obedience training
  • Pet boutiques
  • Pet-wear
  • Educational pet toys
  • Pet-sitting
  • Doggy day care
  • Veterinary services, particularly specialist veterinarians
  • Pet nutrition and exercise
  • Owner-pet exercise like Doggy Boot Camp and Doga

Who’s Doing Furbabies?

These celebs have chosen the pitter-patter of paws over those of tiny tots:

  • Cameron Diaz – is an outspoken defendant of women who choose not to have children. Her cat, Little Man, regularly accompanies her on shopping trips.
  • Helen Mirren – isn’t keen on kids, but describes her greatest love as ‘all the dogs I have ever known’. At 66, she was voted Body of the Year 2011 by the LA Fitness Poll; she credits her fitness to regular walks with her dogs.
  • Ricky Gervais – a vociferous animal rights activist – and partner Jane Fallon took the decision to remain child-free, but have a much-loved and indulged furbaby, a Siamese cat named Ollie.