Cash lamented that he gave his significant other half of his money for

groceries. However, she bought a hat and “some store-bought cat food.”

A lyric in the Johnny Cash song “Mean-Eyed Cat” captures a moment of change inAmericans’ attitudes toward pet food and reflects current global cat foodtrends.

In the song, Cash lamented that he gave his significant other money forgroceries. However, she bought a hat and “some store-bought cat food,” whichled to an argument and several more verses. What struck me is that Cash wouldthink to mention that the cat food was store-bought. Seventy years ago,commercial cat food was still something of a novelty and a luxury.

Cultural change and store-bought cat food

In 1955, when Cash’s wrote that song, the role of cats was changing from barnprotector to lap pet. Following World War II, many returned soldiers settledinto suburbs and made the Baby Boom happen. As the post-war economy alsoboomed, people had money to spend on the family dog and house cats.

Dogs and cats accompanied people to the suburbs and cities. Pets increasinglylived inside houses more frequently than back on the farm, and started tobecome more like members of the family to a wide range of people. At the sametime, social and scientific changes were transforming the way people viewedthe health of each other and the rest of the planet, including animals. TheU.S. mass market for pet food grew as people gained access to competing brandsof nutritiously balanced pre-made kibble and canned dog and cat food.

Now, while the urbanization and pet humanization trends continue in the U.S.,many other regions of the world are undergoing similar economic and societaltransformations as middle classes grow and move into cities. People have moneyto spend on store-bought cat food. Especially cat food, since consumer dataanalysts have noted that cats and small dogs are increasingly preferred byurbanites the world over.

By 2050, the United Nations projects that 68% of the world’s population willlive in cities, up from 55% in 2018. In many nations, internal migrationsoccur as people leave family farms for jobs or education in cites.

Urbanites still want the camaraderie and other health benefits of animalcompanions. However, large, active dogs don’t do well in cramped cityapartments. Pet owners have responded to this situation in similar ways aroundthe world. Small breed dogs and cats have grown in popularity as urban centershave grown in population, increasing purchases of small packages fordiminutive dogs and compact cats.

Like Johnny Cash, many can sing:

“…Now we’re curled up on the sofa.
Me and her and that mean-eyed cat.”

Source: Tim Wall Petfood Industry

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