Undomesticated, stigmatised, aesthetically gross and virtually untrainable – the household parasite doesn’t tick many boxes as man’s best friend. But the pet industry is about to experience a shake up, with an increasing demand for more eco-friendly options.
Our traditional furry friends are costly both financially and ecologically. Plus, they often cause a public nuisance with volatile behaviour, schizophrenically twisting on a sixpence, shattering that humanised veneer we ignorantly project. We’ve all seen the dark repercussions of a doggy day gone wrong – a bloody-mouthed Rottweiler panting pridefully next to a dismembered Terrier.By comparison, life with a parasite is comparatively chilled, and usually plays out without incident. Their tiny carbon footprint alone justifies phasing out methane-heavy cats and dogs. They survive solely by consuming negligible amounts of its owner, living a quiet and short life.
It’s this interdependence that’s attractive. A win-win for both parties: the parasite is fed and housed, the owner experiences a level of intimacy unobtainable with most other pets.
But re-positioning the parasite from phobia-to-friend will take some marketing nous. Major advertising agencies are looking at several angles, from celebrity endorsements to free giveaways. Some airlines are preempting the explosion in parasite travel, with research and development into the effect of cabin pressure on the parasites delicate frame and business class grooming areas.