AN ARRAY OF products aimed at pampering pets is available this holiday season.
Fussy felines are, as usual, a top market target. "Chef Andriu, the world's finest gourmet cat food," comes in such flavors as Prime Beef 'n' Rice, Country Lamb Stew, Chicken 'n' Pasta, Smoked Tuna 'n' Crab, Stew Bouillabaisse and Smoked Turkey.
Here's how it is marketed: "The internationally known creator of culinary masterpieces, Chef Andriu traveled through Europe preparing his own superb gourmet dishes for counts and countesses, ambassadors and film producers. . . . The pet cats of all these special people were being served by Chef Andriu's unique offerings as well."
A grooming treatment, created in Paris, contains aloe vera, panthenol, and Vitamin E while another line includes a set of shampoo, lusterizer, and healing oil for kitty.
Gifts for dogs also abound: From neon jogging suits to elegant tuxedos, from "a complete home dental care kit for dogs," to gourmet cookies available in gingerbread, peanut butter, pecan and carob chip.
The pet industry has not overlooked little rodent friends, either. Penn-Plax Inc. describes its new Small Animal Modules as a "clubhouse for small animals in attractive contemporary design and great colors." The add-on pieces include guest houses, lookout towers and even "silent spinners" designed for nocturnal hamsters.
If you have any money left over after such extravagances, try to remember the rest of the family, too.
* * * MILITARY DEVELOPMENT is often justified for the civilian spin-off. As though jet air travel made World War II worth it. But there is something to the theory. Operation Desert Shield has created its first bonus for the quality of civilian life afterward, and deserves credit.
Hershey Foods Corp. won an Army contract to provide chocolate bars that do not melt in the fierce Saudi sun. There is no denying that this new product, if successful, is what the world needs. If it works on the Iraq border, it can serve as well, after the emergency, in Baltimore playgrounds on August afternoons.
* * * WOLVES HAVE BEEN spotted howling and looking around on the outskirts of Anchorage, Alaska.
Wolves have been seen before in Anchorage, but wildlife biologists said this particular five-member pack was new and, before now, unknown.
People in Alaska's largest city take the predators in their stride, however. That's because "they basically ignore you," one biologist said. What they're really interested in is moose, said to be prevalent in the city. Well, you know what they say up in north: There's nothing like civilization in the wild.