SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Grieving pet owners in Singapore, known for lavishing care in life on their animals, can soon share their feelings about furred family members after they pad off to the great beyond - via obituaries in the city-state's largest newspaper.
From Sunday, The Straits Times pets section will let pet owners publish goodbye messages to their favorite non-human companions along with an accompanying photo.
The memorials will be part of a "pets' corner" in the paper's classifieds section, along with notices by the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and other animal groups about pets available for adoption.
The decision to market obituaries to pet owners in tiny Singapore, one of the world's richest countries in terms of per capita income, comes as wealthy Asians have fewer kids and shower more attention on pets.
Though dogs and cats once roamed free around neighborhoods in Singapore, pet owners today are extremely protective of their pets. In addition, the 80 percent of the population that lives in government-run flats is restricted to just one dog, of a small breed.
Research firm Euromonitor, in a recent report on Singapore's pet care market, said people are spending more on premium pet food as well as accessories such as strollers for dogs and designer pet clothing.
"Many pet owners are increasingly treating their pets as household members and are therefore pampering their pets with luxurious food, products and services, just as they would dote on their family," it said.
"This trend led to a shift in consumer spending towards premium categories, such as premium pet food, hence driving growth in the pet care market."
Needless to say, the obituaries too are not free - they will each run S$50 ($40.96), with a goods and services tax of 7 percent on top of that. ($1 = 1.2208 Singapore dollars)
(Reporting by Kevin Lim, editing by Elaine Lies)