Pet Owners Cut Back On Gifts… But Not For Their Cuddly Dogs And Cats

*Dec 18 - 00:05*

While frugal holiday shoppers are trimming humans from their lists this year, pet lovers are still finding room in their budgets to splurge on their four-legged friends.”Whether they’ve been naughty or nice, they’re the only ones I’m shopping for this year,” said underemployed freelance designer Lynne Rothschild, of her mutt, Cassidy, and spoiled tabbies, Ludwig and Harry. “Everyone else is getting a card.”

A recent poll by The Associated Press and found 52% of pet owners plan to buy their animals a holiday gift, up from 43% last year. That’s despite the finding, in a separate survey by The AP and GfK Roper, that 93% of Americans plan to spend less overall or about the same as last year during the holidays.

Local boutiques and pet shops say sales are steady from last year, with people spending more on gourmet treats and chew toys than on higher-priced items.

“Anything personalized is always a big winner,” said Betty Wong, who runs Buttercup’s Pawtisserie, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and sells her line of all-natural homemade treats online at Decorative holiday treats such as snowflake biscuits, dreidel cookies and personalized ‘Pupcakes’ are among the hottest sellers, she said.

Meanwhile, donations are down at animal shelters and rescue groups, creating a bleak outlook for many needy animals.If you can’t adopt or donate, consider giving a gift that gives back to the animals.

Rational Animal, a nonprofit that creates campaigns for rescue groups and animal organizations, will donate proceeds from its fabulous “In Perfect Harmony: Music Legends and their Animals” calendar to a variety of local groups. The 2010 calendar, which features vintage photos of music icons such as Billie Holiday, Michael Jackson, Sting, John Lennon, Frank Zappa and Patti Smith with their animals sells for $19.95

Donating an item on a shelter or rescue group’s “Wish List” is another way to give back. Shelters, such as NYC Animal Care & Control (, are in desperate need of items ranging from food, toys and towels to cameras and other equipment that makes finding homes for needy animals a little bit easier.

Or, instead of buying a puppy as a gift, purchase a gift certificate toward a future adoption at your local shelter or rescue group.Santa’s also been making his way around town. Last weekend, dozens of pups took a turn on Santa’s lap at Petco Kips Bay, where a portion of the proceeds went to the local cat rescue group City Critters. It’s cats only at the Santa Clawz Holiday Cat Agility and Fashion Show, featuring agility, book signings, cat fashions and cat adoptions. Feisty felines that promise not to scratch or tear off Santa’s beard are invited to crawl up his leg for a photo.



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