How to Tell If Your Pets Are Spoiled

Is little Fido acting up? Or has Fluffy decided that your pillow is the only place to sleep?

We've all seen them. The tiny pooches that are treated like fashion accents and carted around in pockets and purses with little bows, painted nails, and clothes that are usually cuter and more expensive than most children's.

However, does that mean these pets are spoiled? Hardly. Pets don't appreciate clothes and bows and expensive spa treatments. Actually, unless you are donning sweaters and rain booties on your beloved pet to protect him from the weather, there is no reason - other than the owner's self satisfying need for recognition - to spend this kind of money to dress up your pet.

A real spoiled pet can be spotted in many other ways, however. I know. I have many of them, and I take full responsibility for allowing them to train me to their personal specifications. Somewhere between the time they adopted me and today, each one has figured out how to turn me from a simple "bringer of food" to a personal assistant. As I tried to accommodate their needs to make them feel comfortable and at home, I completely lost my sense of self respect and dominance. I have, apparently unwittingly, become the submissive delta cat in my household - the social structure doesn't get any lower than where I have ended up. The servant.

A true spoiled pet not only expects, he gets upset when his needs are not met. Spraying, caterwauling, barking, biting, nipping, jumping, and various types of temper tantrums ensue if their repeated requests are not met exactly as I have been instructed.

When a pet gets like this, yes, he is truly spoiled. When Nick stands in front of the refrigerator, pawing at the door, and beckons me from the other room where I am working, he gives me about 2 minutes before he comes to get me. I am to follow him, open the fridge, and guess at what he wants.

If I guess incorrectly, he allows me a few more tries. If I miss the mark altogether, he then runs up and down the hall bucking like a bronco. Yes, he's spoiled.

How to tell if your pet is truly spoiled:

  • He gets too fussy at meal time, causing you to open can after can until you get it right.
  • He bothers you while you are busy, relentlessly rubbing and meowing until you get up and give him what he wants. It's up to you at this point to know what that might be.
  • He has learned that eating next to you at the table is much nicer than eating in a corner of the kitchen, on the floor, with no scenery.
  • He wants people food. Preferably, good quality meats, and from your plate. Leftovers are acceptable, and once he sees them go into the fridge, he will remember they are there. He will whine and cry every half hour until you take out that piece of chicken breast or roast beef and give it to him.
  • He sees nothing wrong with waking you up at all hours of the night to heed his request, which usually requires a trip to the kitchen.
  • He automatically assumes that any piece of food in your home, visible to the naked eye, is up for grabs. This includes recently brought home groceries still in the bag, and your mother-in-law's dinner plate.
  • At bed time, if he beats to you to bed and you have to find a way to get comfortable without disturbing him, he's spoiled rotten.

The problem at this point is that it is virtually impossible to turn the tables. Unspoiling a pet is even more difficult than unspoiling a child. It's a common human error to look at these sweet adorable little faces, offer a tiny bit of steak or even a lick of ice cream and...our lives will never be the same again.