It’s not drinking alone if your cat is with you

In April 1975, in a bar in Bonny Doon, Calif., which is near Santa Cruz, a guy named Gary Dahl was listening to his friends whine about their finicky pets. He thought about their complaints and swiftly came up with the idea for the perfect pet that would not be in the least finicky: a rock.

Because rocks do not need to be walked, coddled, understood or even fed, the burdens of ownership are very slight, indeed. He made a million bucks before everyone decided — the very next year — that the joke wasn’t that funny. By 1976, you could not give away a Pet Rock®, but the collapse of the traditional owner-pet relationship had already begun. For if a rock might be treated as a living pet, then a living pet might be treated as a … person!

It’s called “anthropomorphism” — ascribing human characteristics to inanimate objects, plants, flowers and pets. Thus do we give our pets birthday parties, Christmas stockings, hats, sweaters and gourmet treats. Man’s best friend evolved into our best buddy. And what do best buddies do when they are together? They drink beer.

Enter Bowser Beer, a non-alcoholic, non-carbonated beer for dogs. “All ingredients are American made and we make our broth from scratch,” say the brewmeisters, “no onions, salt or fat is added. Malt barley is good for shiny coats and glucosamine aids in joint health.” Good to know.

Because cats are more refined than dogs, the idea of cat beer was out of the question. Felines are snobs and what defines a snob better than expensive wine?

Enter Pinot Meow, Moscato and Purrgundy. They do not contain alcohol but they are infused with catnip. So there’s a buzz in there somewhere. An 8-ounce bottle of Pinot Meow is $12.99 which, we must confess to you, is twice what we pay for three times that amount of people wine. OK, OK, our classy cat has better taste than we do. Not that the bar is set very high.

Lately, the march of progress has brought forth … wait for it … dog wines. Sought after varietals include ZinfanTail and Chardognay. At $17.95 for a 12-oz. bottle, I’d say they’re barking up the wrong tree. If our spousal unit ever discovered we had spent $17.95 on a bottle of ANY kind of wine, we would certainly end up in the doghouse.

Stephen Fay

Stephen Fay

Managing Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Fay, managing editor of The Ellsworth American since 1996, is a third-generation Californian. Starting out as a news reporter in 1974, he has been an editor since 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling in Ellsworth with his wife and two daughters. [email protected]
Stephen Fay

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