During the last year, my research about the science of happiness and gratitude, along with my related analysis of what publishers are buying, suggests that stories about dogs and cats continue to be big business in the literary world. They are pop culture and movie favorites too. Although my debut inspirational gift book, soon to hit shelves in January 2017, is not exclusively centered on Fluffy and Rover, I’m excited that some of my pages reflect the sweetness of beloved pets.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (“ASPCA“) estimates that 40 to 50 percent of U.S. households include 70 to 80 million dogs and 74 to 98 million cats. It’s no surprise then that spending is significant. In a spring 2016 press release, the CEO of the American Pet Products Association, Bob Vetere predicts future robust growth, beyond the 2015 tally of more than $60 billion. That’s a lot of food, veterinarian visits and cuddle toys.
Slate columnist Daniel Engber informs and entertains with his 2013 article entitled “The Curious Incidence of Dogs in Publishing” (sub-titled “If kittens rule the Internet, why do puppies reign in print?”). He affirms that dogs are super stars, with “at least 44 dog-related works of fiction” since 2008 and 57 non-fiction projects in 2011 and 2012. Based on my review of 2014 to 2016 deals, the popularity of dog books persists. Canines are still in vogue and how.
For everyone else, don’t meow in your milk. Cats have a place in the hearts of the millions of people who watch online videos about tabbies and tigers. Jason Eppink, Associate Curator of Digital Media for the Museum of the Moving Image tells us “How Cats Took Over the Internet” in an exhibit about “anthropomorphism, the aesthetics of cuteness, the Bored at Work Network, and the rise of user-generated content.”
Gizmodo writer Bryan Lufkin credits heavy feline video website traffic to the appeal of cats as mascots for the tech world. Others, such as scientists and cultural gurus, are similarly fascinated by the notion that cats behave like humans. They are curious and independent. Thanks to his article, I now know that there is a convention called CatCon® “where pop culture and cat culture converge.”
For those who agree with W.C. Field’s maxim “Never work with children or animals,” you might want to think again. Authors and film artists could lose precious commercial opportunities by ignoring the heart pull of cats and dogs, whether imaginary or real life cuties.